Collecting requirements are crucial to help define the project scope. One of the primary responsibilities of a Project Manager is to capture all the requirements and ensure they understand the requirements.
Collecting requirements are crucial to help define the project scope. One of the primary responsibilities of a Project Manager is to capture all the requirements and ensure they understand the requirements. Stakeholders often do not know exactly what they want, or their needs are dynamic. Usually, this process is performed inadequately and leads to dissatisfaction of the customer. Gathering the requirements should begin very early on in the project, but it is a process that will continue through the life of the project.
Tools & Techniques
For the most part, the Project Manager provides the project requirements, and the customer will provide the product requirements. The project scope defines how a product or service will be developed while the product scope defines the actual functions and features. During the early stages of the project, the customer may not have a clear understanding of all the requirements. Using the various approaches, tools, and techniques these requirements will be discovered. There are many beneficial techniques to gather the requirements and depending on the nature of the project and the organizational culture.
Some techniques include:
- One-on-One Interviews. This technique allows to engage with the stakeholder personally and understand their requirements. Interviews can be done in person or over the phone. Interviews can often get sidetracked so keeping a checklist or agenda will be helpful to gain the maximum amount of information from the interview.
- Expert Judgement. Subject Matter Experts (SME) are knowledgeable in their respective areas. Their knowledge and experience in their fields will provide immeasurable value to the project scope. Experts are the people more knowledgeable in their respective areas. SME’s can help shape specialized requirements.
- Data Gathering. This technique involves a group of people working together to figure out the project requirements. Ideas evolve through group communication and creative, and out the box ideas are encouraging to help determine the requirements. There are many tools with this technique and the right technique will depend on the stakeholder as well the organization and its culture. Some of these techniques and tools are:
- Questionnaires & Surveys – is applicable when there are many customers and you need the ability to reach out to all of them. The survey should be clear, questions should be clear and specific to the project. Note: A survey looks for the opinions of a group; a questionnaire provides written or printed questions with a choice of answers to select from.
- Focus Groups – this technique is useful when you want to collect the requirements from a specific set of stakeholders. For example, you may need the Procurement Department and Finance Department to provide input on new software. It will also useful when you are on a tight deadline.
- Brain Storming. The group from different departments gathered together to creatively share ideas and requirements.
- Prototypes – A sample of the final product is developed based on the need of the stakeholder. Once this model is complete, the stakeholders can provide both positive and negative feedback. This technique will reinforce the final deliverable will meet the stakeholder’s needs.
- Delphi Techniques - This technique looks to capture the stakeholder’s needs without the inclusion of bias or influence. This allows individuals to provide their needs anonymously.
Learn more about this process and how to refine your skills in Project Management in one of our many classes.