12 January 2009

Pathway to Requirements failure

Cauvin writes a post about one of the many ways that requirements failure can lead to customer dissatisfaction.

Usually when thinking about customers we can think of end-users of a company's products or services, or the sponsor (or whoever is paying you.)  If you think like that you usually focus on what is most important.

Sometimes (okay, usualy) you can get stuck dealing with the stakeholders wants and needs and they become the focus and the main part of the work involved in getting to the right solution.. It feels like the pareto principle is at work, and that's a trigger for optimisation.

To streamline the amount of non-trival, but non-core requiremets that you need to deal with you can try any number of requirements categorisation techniques.  My current favorite is ranking requirements.

It is an excellent prioritisation tool, facilitaes iterative development and helps senior management's goals be put in the right context in relation to middle and front-line management goals.

Frankly, it gets a good conversation going among business stakeholders, top to bottom.  And once you have an aligned vision of the product amomng your business stakeholders, many of your potential project problems are resolved.

Photo by Bashed CC @ Flickr


  1. Our company has established the need for a PMO (Project managment Office) and with that comes PMs and BAs. However as we are all still struggling with the set up and establishing the standards, one of the PMs have asked me (a BA) if we, BAs have a cetain Methodology in eliciting the requirements or Guidelines/Set of questions that we ask in order to get the actual problem and requirements of the user/stakeholder.

    Well, I wasn't able to answer clearly because I dont know and I haven't use any methodology. All I know are the techniques and that questions are based on the expertise and knowledge of the BA on the business.



  2. Sure, we have one at IAG Consulting we use every day, see www.iag.biz. Yes, we are in the business of using that methodology to help our clients, but the basics are not a big secret, contact me at dwwright@iag.biz if you want to learn some more.

  3. Jolen

    I think the answer is that there is both a set of techniques that you need to have to be able to apply to whatever situation you are in (eg ranking reqirements, kano analysis, MOSCOW categorisaiton, etc) and then there are some overaching processes we follow.

    David's company does have a process - mush of which they share openly via whitepapers, webinars etc. There are other places to look also, including

    The IIBA (BABOK)
    The PMI (PMBOK)
    Rational Unified Process
    and a gazillion others

    Good luck on your search. MOre questions are welcome here, and you light also like to try the forums of one of the BA communities;

    Requirements Network Group
    BA times
    (and there are others also)