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Optimize Requirements Gathering to Effectively Serve the Business

Poor requirements are the number one reason that projects fail – take a strategic approach to optimizing requirements gathering in order to give the business what it needs.


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Your Challenge

  • Poor requirements are the number one reason that projects fail. Requirements gathering and management has been an ongoing bother for IT professionals for decades.
  • If proper due diligence for requirements gathering is not conducted, then the applications that IT is deploying won’t meet business objectives, and will fail to deliver adequate business value.
  • Inaccurate requirements definition can lead to significant amounts of project rework and hurt the organization’s financial performance. It will also create significant damage to the working relationship between IT and the business.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • To avoid making makeshift solutions, an organization needs to gather requirements with the desired future state in mind.
  • Creating a unified set of standard operating procedures is essential for effectively gathering requirements, but many organizations fail to do it.
  • Centralizing governance of requirements processes with a Requirements Gathering Steering Committee or Requirements Gathering Center of Excellence can bring greater uniformity and cohesion when gathering requirements across projects.

Impact and Result

  • Enhanced requirements analysis will lead to tangible reductions in cycle time and reduced project overhead.
  • An improvement in requirements analysis will strengthen the relationship between business and IT, as more and more applications satisfy stakeholder needs.
  • More importantly, the applications delivered by IT will meet all of the “must have” and at least some of the “nice to have” requirements, allowing end users to successfully execute their day-to-day responsibilities.

Research & Tools

1. Optimize requirements gathering processes

Conduct an overview of the major root causes and consequences of poor requirements gathering.

2. Determine the target state for requirements gathering

Understand requirements management approaches.

3. Assess current requirements gathering processes and identify gaps

Assess current requirements management processes.

4. Plan for requirements gathering

Understand the necessity of developing a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for requirements management.

5. Elicit requirements

Determine which elicitation techniques the organization should employ for requirements gathering.

6. Analyze requirements

Categorize requirements.

7. Validate requirements

Allocate requirements across a phased deployment plan.

8. Manage, communicate, and test requirements

Conduct requirements traceability, testing, and reuse.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a seven call advisory process.

Call #1 - Is requirements gathering optimization right for you?

Discuss the challenges, benefits, and costs of requirements gathering optimization, as well as the resources required for optimization. Finally, determine if your organization is ready to proceed with optimizing a requirements gathering process at this time.

Call #2 - Determine your target and current states for requirements gathering

Review the results of the Requirements Management Target State Assessment and Current State Assessment. Discuss elements of effective requirements management, mapping the requirements gathering process, and criteria of good requirements. Also discuss the root cause of any performance gaps and develop a strategy to bridge the target and current state.

Call #3 - Plan for requirements gathering

Discuss the high-level structure of your new Standard Operating Procedure guide and determine best practices for governance and technology strategy. Review your current efforts in Info-Tech’s Standard Operating Procedures for Requirements Elicitation, Analysis, and Validation template.

Call #4 - Elicit requirements

Determine which requirements elicitation techniques you should include in your SOP guide and discuss an action plan for how each elicitation technique should be conducted (for example, best practices for joint development sessions).

Call #5 - Analyze requirements

Create post-elicitation SOPs that focus on the prudent categorization and prioritization of requirements. This call will also help you identify assumptions and constraints that are inherent to your requirements gathering process, and provide guidance for how these constraints impact analysis (as well as elicitation).

Call #6 - Assess and validate requirements

Build a strategy for stakeholder communication and feedback, and make your business analysts (BAs) achieve a basic understanding regarding how to involve project sponsors and key stakeholders during validation and sign-off sessions.

Call #7 - Manage, communicate, and test requirements

Discuss how to best communicate with stakeholders throughout the requirements gathering process, as well as how to create traceability between requirements and software testing (i.e. UAT) methodologies.