Project Management

Perfecting Business Requirements for Successful Projects

Your organization might have a standard template for collecting business requirements, and it might be a pretty good one. But stopping there and not delving any deeper could be a costly oversight. In a post for the Association for Project Management, Paul Naybour considers the following factors that should always be included in viable business requirements:

  • The business problem
  • The current situation
  • The goal
  • Project scope
  • Success criteria
  • Risks
  • Assumptions
  • The new/improved situation
  • Quality criteria

The Spectrum of Requirements

Requirements begin by clearly defining the problem that is to be solved. Everything in the project revolves around solving this problem. This is also how you get a grasp of the current landscape of the business and what the goal of the project will be. Beyond these starting points, the next step is to enter into the nebulous cloud of project scope, where vague details must be compressed into concrete agreements. The scope must create realistic, agreed upon project expectations that prevent scope creep.

After that, success criteria, quality criteria, and risks can be identified. Assumptions by comparison will not be as easy to compile, because stakeholders often may not consciously realize they are making assumptions. This is why it is necessary to have discussions with key individuals, to weed out facts from theories.

And about the “new/improved” situation, Naybour shares this:

A project could involve straightforward improvements to an existing situation (such as adding a lane to a congested section of motorway) or a radical new solution (such as the proposed ‘double decker highway’ on the busiest stretch of the M25). But whether it is a simple or complex solution it does need to be clearly stated in order to highlight potential problems and issues as early as possible.

This is far from rocket science, but sometimes you can get so wrapped up in what you are doing that you forget fundamentals like this. You can view the original post here:

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