Easy Ways to Collect Accurate and Actionable Project Requirements

  • from ITtoolkit.com

Image of wooden block with a building taking shape which relates to the need for requirements collection.

Projects must be planned and executed to deliver timely, viable solutions that are both relevant and realistic. To meet these goals, every project must begin with an fully vetted and approved requirements specification. But, before project requirements can be vetted and approved, they must be collected, organized and transformed into an actionable project scope, vision and work effort.  Read on for more.

IT projects are complex projects.  Requirements are typically multi-faceted, covering technical, financial, and operational elements, and are also subject to perception, bias and stakeholder interests. As such, the requirements collection process must incorporate and address all these realities - to identify requirements at all levels and perceptions.   This is best achieved through standardized steps, designed for consistency, but equipped with built-in flexibility.

Requirements collection is performed as part of the project definition process.

Start with Basic Data Collection Strategies

The following techniques and strategies are used to "fast track" the requirements collection process so that project needs can be quickly identified and organized for analysis:

In Person Requirements Collection

"Face to face" interviews with one or more project stakeholders. These "requirements" interviews can occur as one-on-one meetings or group brainstorming sessions. Tip: Interviews are most appropriate for projects with a small number of "requirements contributors", where requirements must be gathered from a select, concentrated group.

Requirements Collection Via Surveys

Documented questions (on paper or in electronic format) designed to collect "written" requirements feedback from one or more project stakeholders. Tip: Surveys are most appropriate for projects with a large number of "requirements contributors" where requirements must be gathered from a diverse group.

Requirements Collection Via Observation Techniques

Direct "interaction" with project customers (i.e. end-users) to observe and identify requirements based on current workflows and practices. Tip: Observation is most appropriate for "performance or productivity improvement" projects where problems must be translated into actionable requirements.

Key Components for Requirements Collection

In practical application, most projects will involve some combination of these various methods in order to collect a full set of useful requirements. Requirements collection is initiated when the project need is first identified and the project “solution” is to be proposed. Requirements refinement continues after the project is “selected” and as the scope is defined, aligned and approved. The requirements collection process must be designed to address the following primary issues:

  • Participants: Who should participate in the requirements specification process? Requirements "contributors" should be selected according to project role, deliverables "stake", expertise, experience, and internal organizational issues.
  • Timing and Scope: How much time is available for the requirements collection process considering project scope and the number of participants? Requirements collection "timing and scope" will determine the data collection methods to be used.
  • Goals: What are your requirements collection goals? Do you need to validate and verify pre-defined requirements assumptions, or do you need to gather requirements feedback at the broadest levels possible? These goals and needs will help to determine your selected requirements techniques, including questions "content and format".

Once requirements data has been collected, analyzed and finalized, validating deliverables must be produced, in order to document requirements for review and acceptance. This deliverable, formally known as a "Requirements Statement/Specification" must be prepared and approved before project work begins. It's very risky to initiate costly project work without a full understanding and an acceptance of properly stated requirements. The requirements deliverable also provides a baseline for managing inevitable project change.

Learn to Fast Track

When it comes to managing, you need more than one approach to be consistently successful. The way you manage when surrounding conditions are good, is not the way you manage when time is running short, resources are stretched thin and people aren't working together. That's what fast tracking is for - and we can teach you how it's done. Learn More


If you're looking for a fast, easy way to achieve project planning success, you'll find it inside the Fast Track Project Toolkit. This unique, informative online course gives you everything you need to become a project leader and fast tracking expert. Here's what you'll learn:

  • How to plan and govern projects using strategic project fast tracking.

  • How to use strategic project fast tracking to save time and make the most of available resources.

  • How to use strategic fast tracking to overcome project constraints and limitations.

  • How to use strategic fast tracking to negotiate with stakeholders and build shared expectations.

  • How to use strategic fast tracking to become a more productive project manager and team member.

Source: Unless noted otherwise, all content is created by and/or for ITtoolkit.com

About Us

Right Track Logo

ITtoolkit.com staff writers have experience working for some of the largest corporations, in various positions including marketing, systems engineering, help desk support, web and application development, and IT management.

ITtoolkit.com is part of Right Track Associates, proprietors and publishers of multiple web sites including ITtoolkit.com, Fast Track Manage, HOA Board List and more. We started ITtoolkit.com in 2001 and have continued to grow our web site portfolio, Toolkit products, and related data services. To learn more, visit us at Right Track Associates.

ITtoolkit News

Get the Latest ITtoolkit Updates. No Inbox Overload.

we do not sell our list

Subscribe Now
I.T. Service Planning The Service Strategy Toolkit Start For Free

If you'd like to learn how to quickly plan I.T. service strategies designed to meet every goal for technology service alignment, service quality and end-user service satisfaction, the I.T. Service Strategy Toolkit is the right course for you. Brought to you by the publishers of ITtoolkit.com, this self-paced course is easy, engaging and actionable, giving you both how-to lessons and take-action tools. Start for free now!.

Committee Management The Project Committee Toolkit Start For Free

If you'd like to learn how to form and operate successful committees, destined to be more productive and less prone to conflict, the Project Committee Toolkit is the right training course for you. Brought to you by the publishers of ITtoolkit.com, this easy course gives you both the lessons and the tools you need to be a better committee leader and organizer. Start for free now!.

Project Management The Fast Track Project Toolkit Start For Free

If you'd like to learn how to how to streamline project management activities to get work done in less time, using the resources you have, then the Fast Track Toolkit online course is what you need. Brought to you by the publishers of ITtoolkit.com, you'll learn how to 'fast track' every stage of the project management process, from pre-project planning to the post-project review. Start for free now!.