19 April 2011

The Requirements Discovery Project

Requirements discovery, and resulting documents and communications activities can be defined as specific projects.  Should they be?  Possibly.  I have been thinking about this topic for years now.

Corporate projects, with a discreet discovery activity and deliverable should probably call out the requirements discovery work as it's own project.  Combining it with the solution delivery component becomes a programme.

I am just making a note for myself now, but this concept lines up with a lot of industry leading thinkers of the last few decades.  And it fits perfectly as a mental model for managing the contextual dependency for requirements discovery up front or parrallel to solution development.

Thoughts?  Should I elaborate further?

7 comments:

  1. i say go for it. my first project, 10 years ago, started out with a discovery phase before moving on to specific implementation phases. it worked out quite well. the large program that is currently getting started at my company is doing this as well.

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  2. I think it's more than a phase - it should be an independent project. It's own stakeholders, budget, schedule and so on.

    And especially it's own terms of reference and acceptance criteria.

    The idea is to clearly link the cost and effort to the result.

    (This isn't to say that an analyst or requirements person doesn't need to be on the solution project as well)

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  3. Hi Craig, and Ted...

    Requirements Discovery is certainly a distinct activity. They key thing is what you mean by "project"; the related word is "operations". The latter describes what an organization does at any point in time; operations are on-going, no defined start or end.

    Given that, a project is a specific effort to introduce change(s) to operations, to improve them in a desired way. Projects do have a known start and end ( the end may be late, but that is another topic!)

    So to me, Requirements Discovery only gets you part of the way to implementing the change, a description of desire (better yet, real needs); the project is certainly underway, but is not done.

    "Programme" is a word that has less certain meaning for me. Where I have seen it used is when a final change objective requires a lot of effort, so several projects are defined that deliver pieces of change until all the needed changes have been implemented. ...but I can't say if that is a widely used definition.

    Now, inside an organization, you can call anything whatever you want as long as it is defined and everybody knows what it means. A project could be defined as a defined effort with expected deliverables (and stakeholders, budget, schedule )but not deliver actual change, yet. I wouldn't do it, but I am not running the whole world...yet. ;-)

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  4. Anonymous3:25 pm

    This comment was posted by Dave Wright (@dwwringht99) but is somehow missing;

    Hi Craig, and Ted...

    Requirements Discovery is certainly a distinct activity. They key thing is what you mean by "project"; the related word is "operations". The latter describes what an organization does at any point in time; operations are on-going, no defined start or end.

    Given that, a project is a specific effort to introduce change(s) to operations, to improve them in a desired way. Projects do have a known start and end ( the end may be late, but that is another topic!)

    So to me, Requirements Discovery only gets you part of the way to implementing the change, a description of desire (better yet, real needs); the project is certainly underway, but is not done.

    "Programme" is a word that has less certain meaning for me. Where I have seen it used is when a final change objective requires a lot of effort, so several projects are defined that deliver pieces of change until all the needed changes have been implemented. ...but I can't say if that is a widely used definition.

    Now, inside an organization, you can call anything whatever you want as long as it is defined and everybody knows what it means. A project could be defined as a defined effort with expected deliverables (and stakeholders, budget, schedule )but not deliver actual change, yet. I wouldn't do it, but I am not running the whole world...yet. ;-)

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  5. Dave

    By project I mean a distinct activity to produce a unique artefact with a start and end date, and usually not repeated.

    The artefact is the knowledge that is created through the discovery activity.

    Granted in many instances this can be operational - and in those instances the requirements phase of a project may not be very worthwhile either.

    The core of my idea here is that if it's worth doing then do it properly, and understand the cost. It might just change the way businesses operate.

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  6. sorry, should have clarified... its a phase in the program. it has its own budget, schedule, etc, but its still part of a larger overall effort. just difference in terms. :)

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  7. weird, my previous comment is not showing.

    ReplyDelete

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