5 Things to Start
- Identify and engage appropriate stakeholders. Project managers who work in a matrix environment should seek resource approval from stakeholder's managers early in the project.
- Ensure the requested software features will be used. Inquire (politely) why the features are needed. How does the requirement align with the goals of the project? The results of one Standish Group indicated that 45% of product features were never used.
- If questionable, ask if a requirement is in the scope of the project. The project manager may wish to capture out-of-scope requirements in a parking lot for future consideration. Check with the Project Management Office (PMO) or other authority on how to handle these requirements.
- Analyze requirements using context diagrams, use cases, stories, and other tools and techniques. Project managers or business analysts who use different tools help the stakeholders see things from various perspectives.
- When requirements change, be sure to update the requirements under version control. Ideally, the project manager should be able to see the versions of the requirement from the initial version to the current version. Many of the requirement tools today provide this capability.
5 Things to Stop
- Over analyzing requirements (analysis paralysis). Project managers and business analyst must use discernment. At some point, you must move on.
- Storing requirements information in more than one location. Some project managers make the mistake of capturing requirements in different places such as emails, spreadsheets, notes, and meeting minutes. Determine early in the project the one location for all requirements.
- Writing vague, ambiguous requirements. Be specific. Determine if the tester can test the requirement.
- Diving too deep into the design while defining requirements.
- Using a word processing program for storing requirements. Check with the PMO or other authority to determine if the company has adopted a standard requirements management tool. If not, the project manager may wish to work with stakeholders to select a tool.