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15 February 2010

It's up to you

How far do you go in planning your project's requirements?

In an agile 21st century full of social media commentary you are finding it hard to work out how much of your old planning and requirements management practices to abandon and how much you need to keep?

For example, you probably need to answer these questions: How long will this project go? What will it cost? What benefits will the project be able to deliver?

Without an up-front plan and baseline set of requirements how do you know when you are going too far, in the wrong direction or around in circles?

The answer is simple: It's up to you.

To help you decide ask yourself a few questions. Here are some to help your thinking get started.

  • What's the root driver for the project?
  • Does your sponsor care about fixed budget or return on investment?
  • How much business domain knowledge do you and your project leadership have?
  • How much technical experience do you have with the tools you are planning to employ?
  • What is the performing organisation's project capability?
  • What is the customer organisation's project capability?
  • How political is the customer landscape? And what is the best way to manage their behaviour around requirements and change management (not their intent.)

The answers to these questions shouldn't be binary - agile or not agile. The answers should be descriptive. What sort of problems do you expect and what are the ways you should be managing them?

Communication, control and technical capability are three things to look at carefully. No project will work if these three aspects are not well managed.