For a project to be successful, the requirements of senior sponsors need to be understood, as well as those of the people who will utilise the products of the project. Performing this requirements collection successfully is critical for success – but many organisations do not do this effectively or efficiently. Most organisations boldly send a business analyst, subject matter expert or the project manager to work with the necessary stakeholders. This sounds reasonable, but significantly sub-optimises the use of people’s time, and the schedule for your project.
How can you fix this waste of time? Never send the “Lone Ranger” into a situation to collect requirements! Send a team of people, with different styles, to the same requirements collection event or interview. We all review situations with different filters and we “see” different things from the same scenario. This is highlighted quite profoundly by the various versions of the popular “gorilla video” that has spread across the internet. The Live Science study of the gorilla video (http://www.livescience.com/6727-invisible-gorilla-test-shows-notice.html) highlights the lack of observation skills many of us have as human beings. We concentrate on things we believe are necessary or important, and we miss other things that are in plain sight (or in clear hearing). Sending a team of people maximises the amount of information that will be collected from any interview, enhancing the quality of the initiative, and maximising the usage of time.
Using a team to discover a greater richness of requirements is one of the “10 Mighty Tools” discussed in a presentation that is delivered by Mindavation consultants. This presentation is being delivered in Hobart, Tasmania in early August. Check out the Mindavation Australia website at http://mindavation.com.au/whats-new/presentation-schedule/ for details or to request this presentation for your organisation.
Are you making the most of your requirements collection exercises? Do you have team members with a diversity of expectations so you can collect more information from each of your gathering exercises? Bring multiple team members to the requirement collection exercise and watch your project quality increase.