User requirements, is there a project management method to collect needs, wishes, wants?
Requirements capture is a critical path in all projects. If there are not gathered timely and precisely, it is clear that the project will not achieve its objectives.
What are the dimensions of user requirements collection?
Three distinct dimensions must be clarified:
– The project scope in itself (what are the timelines, which organisation ? , budget?, communications, change management…).
– The project deliverables in terms of product or service to deliver (scope, performance).
– The project aim for the final customers and also users must in all minds.
Which process should be followed to collect business requirements?
1. Understand the stakes of projects
2. Collect needs and put in the context
3. Translate needs functions
4. Create the solution and / or alternatives
First, make sure you know the real business objectives.
The project sponsor has to create a vision, the to be situation. You should go back to facts, causes analysis, objectives, results needed and clarified this with the project owner. The project vision should be clear not the solution before you start.
You should be careful if the objective is told in terms of a solution rather than in term of issues to solve or performance to attain. or if the real objectives are not told due to politic reason because you will face the problem during the project and it is better to be prepared.
Second, collect methodically users requirements
The context of the project, products, customers and users are crucial for the success. You should use the users eyes to go through all steps from design of the product to the retirement of the product. Do not judge requirements, You should be interrested in all of the products and services requirements You must understand for each problem, there is a corresponding function to deliver in the project.
Tip : For a compliant sustainable project, you should also analyse if you can reuse of some parts, there are substantial benefits and costs saving in this step like Ricoh did.
Third, translate requirements to functions
Requirements can be under or over-stated, sometimes contradictory with project goals or on company level misaligned, or not fitting with the budget, delay, quality required. You should be prepared to evaluate requirements in terms of delay, quality, money and business consequences having the customer agree on a lean project management approach is ideal before you start this negociation. Bring back project sponsor back to classify functions by order of priority (must have, important, useful). You may need some experts and several round to shape a reasonable functions packages to deliver in the project. Ideally, you should also be an expert in the area to be able to challenge the proposed solutions alternatives and make sure it fits with project objectives at least costs.
Fourth, create a solution and/or alternatives
This step is key for succesful project. It is also the more complex to negociate. If you let project sponsor dream or if he refuse to compromise, the customer may loose all chances to succed in the project, loose a lot of money, regress in term of business performance and in extreme case risk to disappear. You may say : let it be if it is the sponsor desire. You have done the project and the money in your pocket. It is true. If you are courageous and honest, the project may stop. This is the risk but you will be rewarded because if you reach the negotiation then you will bring the project back to a more proven path and you will reasonably good chance to succed in the project. I am not saying that every thing should be easy in a project but based on state of art expertises around you a good project manager must control the risks and present alternatives. In my career, I have done it. Most of my projects have been succesfull and my customers know it.