We’re good at research, and budget setting, and requirements management. We know what we want, and how to go about getting it. If it’s not good for us, we walk away.
So, why are we often so bad at doing this in the workplace? Is it because we want something more quickly, or cheaper, or both? Is it because of top-down management pressure to ‘just do it’, or unrealistic planning to satisfy someone’s unrealistic demands? In reality, it’s a combination of all the above, and it’s only when we are prepared to stand up and insist that the appropriate levels of effort and investment are applied to each task that we see the results we, and our stakeholders, expect.
This is why the activity to establish good requirements is so crucial to a project’s success.
Here at HM3 we pride ourselves on our ability to set accurate and realistic requirements for each and every project we carry out. Requirements should always be the first step in a project’s lifecycle, and will allow every individual involved to be made aware of what the expectations are from the outset.
Requirements should cascade into a schedule, they should inform and guide design and build decisions, and they should directly correlate with test plans so that there is a very clear, documented record of assurance and approval. Without them, one or all the phases of your project lifecycle could become open ended and impossible to measure.
When this happens, it becomes extremely difficult to move from one part of a project to another and if milestone payments are involved it’s likely very difficult to achieve them. Setting requirements before anything else is one of the foundational elements for achieving the successful delivery of agreed outcomes, and without them the inevitable result is that time and cost increase and output quality will be significantly lower.
After all, if you don't know the requirement how do you know when you've finished?!