Why effective requirements gathering gives you a guarantee of successful project management

Introduction

Suppose it is your turn to go to the grocery store to buy monthly essentials for your home. What is the first step you engage in? You make a list of all the requirements that you can think of. This is an example of the requirements gathering process.

But, you forget to bring cornflakes, coffee, and liquid detergent. This is an example of ineffective requirements gathering process. So, now you have to make a second trip to the grocery store.

But, before that, you must consult all your family members. They will communicate any specific requirements for inclusion in the list. This results in a complete and accurate list of requirements.

This is what is most essential in project management as well – Requirements Gathering.

What is Requirements Gathering?

Requirements gathering is a process of collecting all the needs that the project aims to address. For this, you need to conduct deep research at the start of the project. You also need to document all the collected requirements in an easily understandable manner.

Why is Requirements Gathering important to a project?

Gives the right direction

Requirements are the foundation on which the project stands. You must know the requirements to steer the project in the right direction. Requirements are nothing but expectations of the end-users from the final product.

Scope creep

If you do not conduct requirements gathering, the project will not be able to meet its goals. It leads to a wrong or inadequate definition of project scope. A project without requirements gathering may suffer from scope creep.

Saves you from extra time, effort, and costs

If you miss any requirements, the end-product does not meet the client’s needs. You may be required to work on it again to add the features related to missing requirements. This requires more time, more effort, and more costs.

Reduces the disagreements between team members

Poorly written or inadequate requirements confuse the project team. This leads to disagreements between the team members on what to do. It may lead to demotivation, which may affect the project outcomes.

Due to these reasons, requirements gathering is a crucial process. If not done correctly, it may lead to project failures. And, then the blame game starts with a common statement of “The requirements were not clearly defined”.

Have clear visibility of your project requirements to drive your project to the finish line

Requirements Gathering Process

For compiling requirements, you need to interview the relevant project team members. These members must be aware of what the end-user wants in the final software or system. You can do this by asking the right questions and anticipating the needs.

Do not make any assumptions about project requirements. Study your users’ product needs and expectations from the system. This will give you a better idea on what requirements to achieve.

The key steps of the requirements gathering process are:

Identifying all possible stakeholders of the project

Conduct a stakeholder analysis to identify all the possible stakeholders of the project. These stakeholders may be external or internal to the firm. You should make a note of these stakeholders to understand their role in the project.

Meet them and have project-related discussions. You must understand if they are beneficiary of the project or a contributor. They will be the ones who will talk about project needs in the requirements gathering process.

Identifying all the tools and techniques for requirements gathering

Now, make a list of the tools and techniques that will be used to elicit requirements. It depends on your budget and the readiness of the stakeholders involved. These tools and techniques include:

right tick

Interviews

right tick

Survey questionnaires

right tick

Focus group discussions

right tick

Observation

right tick

Brainstorming

right tick

Used case diagrams

right tick

Prototyping

Saves you from extra time, effort, and costs

If you miss any requirements, the end-product does not meet the client’s needs. You may be required to work on it again to add the features related to missing requirements. This requires more time, more effort, and more costs.

Reduces the disagreements between team members

Poorly written or inadequate requirements confuse the project team. This leads to disagreements between the team members on what to do. It may lead to demotivation, which may affect the project outcomes.

Due to these reasons, requirements gathering is a crucial process. If not done correctly, it may lead to project failures. And, then the blame game starts with a common statement of “The requirements were not clearly defined”.

Pathik Shah

(CISA, FCA, CS, DISA (ICAI), FAFP (ICAI))

Pathik is a multi-disciplinary professional with more than 22 years of experience in compliance, risk management, accounting, system audits, IT consultancy, and digital marketing. He has extensive knowledge of Anti-Money Laundering rules and regulations, and he helps companies comply with legal requirements. Pathik also helps companies generate value from their IT investments.