Requirements Management | By Kenneth Darter | Read time minutes
Every project starts with a scope statement. The scope is the high-level view of the project that can be broken down into the requirements and the details required of the final product to meet the original scope statement. As the team moves from requirements to executing tasks on the project, the scope and the requirements must be tracked.
The steps between identifying the requirements and moving to executing tasks and implementing the solution are vital links in the project lifecycle. Four crucial steps ensure that the original scope is met by the project team.
The requirements must be traced from the original statement of need to the final solution implemented that meets the need. There are many ways to create a traceability document, but even a simple spreadsheet is better than nothing.
The project team needs to have an understanding of why they're designing and implementing the solution in a certain way. With a requirement traceability matrix, they can see where all the decisions are coming from.
There's nothing worse than getting to the end of a project and not knowing why you executed the tasks in the first place. Being able to trace the requirements from beginning to end will ensure that nothing is forgotten and that nothing extra is added to the project without good reason.
Ideally, the requirements for the project will be written in a manner that's clear to everyone — but that's not always the case. Sometimes it's far from clear to anyone at all.
The project manager may need to spend some time drilling down on the requirements and verifying that everyone has the same understanding of what each requirement means. This becomes especially important if some time has elapsed between the writing of the requirements and the beginning of the project.
The requirements also need to be written at a specific level in order to drive the design of the solution and the tasks that execute upon that design. A high-level statement is enough at the very beginning. During the project, though, it's not sufficient. There must be enough details for the team to develop and deliver the product to the required level of quality and completeness.
As you drill down into the requirements, getting a better understanding of them and getting closer to the needs of the customer, you will gather the specifications that create the final product of the project. These specifications need to be documented and worked on by the project team to line up with the project plan.
As the scope statement creates requirements, which create specifications, the project manager needs to keep track of all of the details somewhere so that the project team does not lose anything.
This detailed documentation may be tedious and seem like overkill. Six months down the road, however, no one will remember what was said in the early meetings — or even worse, they will remember incorrectly.
The last step is to verify the original requirement against what was executed by the project team. This can be accomplished with thorough testing that involves all parties — both the project team and the customer. The testing and verification should go straight back to the original requirement and understanding of what the project was designed to accomplish.
Verification is the last step on the way to finishing the project. There must be sufficient time built into the project schedule to ensure that everything is tested and verified appropriately before the project can be considered finished.
These are steps every successful project should work through as the team moves from task execution to final solution. What about our readers? How have your teams handled these steps?