IT projects serve many different purposes, encompassing multiple technical, business and financial variables. Considering all the driving factors, project requirements can and do exist at many levels, and it's no easy task to make sense of all the potential, and possibly conflicting, needs. That's why the structured requirements analysis is a particularly important part of the management process for IT projects. Read on for more.
It stands to reason that on time, on budget project success depends on a solid definition of each and every realistic requirement. This is the “factual” backbone of any IT project, paving a path for efficient project planning and execution. Requirements serve three (3) primary functions:
The requirements analysis is performed as part of the project definition process. For an illustrated view of project definition see our informative infographic Defining Projects for Action and Approval.
Requirements identification and analysis occurs at all stages of the project management lifecycle, starting with the project proposal, and continuing as the project unfolds and change requests are presented. To make things easier, it helps to view requirements in terms of the "bigger picture", considering the complex dynamics of the IT project. Within the IT project environment, requirements may vary by project type and circumstances, but can be quantified according to four (4) primary categories:
As you go through the process of requirements identification and analysis, you need to consider the types of requirements that must be defined, as well as the various individuals involved in the requirements process. Since requirements define deliverables and build consensus, it essential that all key stakeholders are involved in the requirements process as needed, whether that involvement includes identification, review or approval.
Obtain a "Requirements Statement" from the appropriate project stakeholders, in order to get a "first-hand" perspective of project requirements from a stakeholder point of view:
Restate the requirements in specific terms upon which further action can be taken. This restatement should phrase requirements in terms of the project deliverable, demonstrating to the project customer that their requirements have been understood and that results can be produced.
Identify the risks and assumptions upon which these requirements are based.
Seek acceptance and approval of your restatement of requirements. This acceptance and approval should be obtained from all relevant project stakeholders and participants.
Adopt and enforce standardized change request procedures that will allow requirements to change as the project develops, and as needs and circumstances dictate. Requirements changes should be kept to a minimum, and only as needed. In order to ensure that requirements changes are evaluated appropriately, change requests should account for the following:
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