Collect Requirements or Die!

Part of an ongoing series blogging the bejayzus out of Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).

Collect Requirements

This is finding out, recording and managing the stakeholders’ needs for the project.

It forms the basis for managing the project’s scope. It’s hugely important, and, if the PM hasn’t been out and about much by now, they will be meeting a lot of people very soon.

The project’s success depends on getting requirements from engaged stakeholders.

Requirements need to be in enough detail to become the basis of the WBS. Cost, schedule and procurement decisions are all influenced by requirements.

They can be broken down in to business (from stakeholders) and technical (how the project will be implemented).

Or, they can go in to more detail in extra categories such as solution, transition, project and quality.

Collect Requirements ITTO

Collect Requirements ITTO

Inputs include the Scope Management and Requirements Management Plans from the previous section, Plan Scope Management.

Another input is the Stakeholder Management Plan, a key component given the importance of stakeholders’ input to requirements management.

The Project Charter and Stakeholder Register are two other inputs.

There are 11 tools and techniques used to collect requirements.

Interviews can be formal or informal with both prepared and spontaneous questions. Normally one-on-one, they can have multiple parties.

Focus groups bring stakeholders and subject matter experts together.

Facilitated workshops are seen as way to get key stakeholders together to quickly define cross-functional requirements or settle stakeholder differences.

Joint application design/development (JAD) are workshops used in software. Quality function deployment (QFD) can help elicit critical requirements.

Group creativity techniques include brainstorming, mind or idea mapping and multi-criteria decision analysis.

Group decision-making techniques can be subject to procedures such as unanimity, majority, plurality (when there are more than two options) and dictatorship, which is hardly a group technique. But there you have it.

Questionnaires and surveys help gather information from large groups. Observations, or job shadowing, helps with detailed processes or getting details from reluctant stakeholders. Prototypes help get early feedback on the proposed solution.It is part of a process of progressive elaboration.

Benchmarking compares to comparable organizations.

Context diagrams draw out the product scope in a business system and how actors interact with it.

Document analysis means trawling through agreements, marketing literature, business plans, etc.

The first output is Requirements Documentation. Requirements need to be unambiguous and meet business needs. They should also be measurable and traceable.

The second output is the Requirements Traceability Matrix. This is a grid that tracks requirements from start to deliverable. It also adds value by linking requirements to business and project objectives.