What Are We Building?
Any Project Manager will tell you that one of the key success factors in managing projects is having solid requirements. What are you building and rolling out? Who will you need to complete the tasks? How long can it take and how much will it cost? Requirements is the key input to the scope of work and cost you and your team will define and will use to develop the project schedule.
In the real world, requirements are not perfect. Developing requirements is usually an iterative process that requires input and feedback from your project sponsor, key stakeholders and the project team. As a Project Manager you would be expected to work with your business analyst (if you have one assigned) to gather and document requirements and hold the necessary review sessions with the team. In some cases the Project manager will serve as the Business Analysts with respect to gathering and documenting requirements.
Embrace Change and Be Prepared
It is always the intent to gather and agree on all requirements, however, it is important to remain flexible within reason. No one has a crystal ball. Often times new information is identified and requirements change. In this instance the Project Manager would be expected to communicate and document the change and secure all necessary approvals.
When documenting a change of requirements, the Project Manager should communicate not only the details of the change but the impact to the scope, time and cost. What is the impact to your plan? Are there new risks and issues associated with the change in requirements? Is there an increase in scope going to impact your resource forecast? These are questions as the Project Manager you need to be prepared to answer.
Tips for Gathering Requirements:
- Understand your sponsor’s goals
- Communicate requirements to all stakeholders and gather feedback
- Embrace change. Be flexible but always understand the impact of change to your plan (scope, time and cost) and be prepared to communicate those changes to all stakeholders