Requirements Characterization Checklist – 10 Essential Questions
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is not true for requirements when it comes to determining if they are characterized properly. Inadequately characterized requirements are a primary driver for increased project costs, schedule delays, unnecessary risks and ultimately project failure through inadequately met customer expectations.
Here are ten essential questions that will allow you to determine proper requirements characterization.
If there is not a good answer to one of the questions, then there is work required to resolve the discrepancy. Unfortunately, not performing or delaying this work for proper requirements characterization is common, especially when you have most of the information or what others deem adequate. The project then proceeds in the absence of this requirements characterization information and the only thing surprising about the future problems this lack of information creates is the fact that people are surprised.
Are You in a Git-R-Done or Is-It-Done Organization?
One of the good things about Linkedin is that it can facilitate discussion of professional challenges as they relate to project management. This is also a source of frustration for me as some of the discussions expose a major problem in the project management community. That problem is an over focus on terminology, tools, and process. Recently there was a Linkedin discussion posted about the meaning of a certain project management term with strong opinions from project management “experts” on both sides. The reality of the discussion that these experts did not see, was that it really didn’t matter which side was correct, as the work still had to get done. If I was high level leader in an organization, and my staff was having this discussion, they would no longer be my staff.
Organizations and people strive to be mature. The question is how do you assess maturity? Some in the project management community strongly believe that creation and adherence to many processes equates to maturity.
Project management process maturity is in the eye of the beholder.
This means the amount of process should be dependent upon the context of the organization and more process does not necessarily result in more maturity.
Presuming the organizational leaders have identified the right amount of processes that best fit their organizational context, the thinking leader’s project management process maturity model can be characterized with three simple questions.
- Do we have a process?
- Do we follow the process to execute the work?
- Do we improve the process?
Having lived in Florida 30 years, I have had encounters with all kinds of snakes and even had a five-foot alligator that occasionally sunned itself by one of my palm trees. I asked my new neighbor how long he had lived in Florida. He replied that he had lived in Florida before and this surprised me because he leaves his garage door open hours at a time. I told him that I have already caught four small snakes this year in my garage with glue traps and I keep my garage door closed, only leaving a very small crack on the side of the door at its base, because like most garage doors it doesn’t seal perfectly. He thanked me, but still keeps his garage door open for hours at a time.
When I arrived at the beach the sun was just cracking the sky. I was rolling my beach cart “battle wagon” down the ramp to the ocean. This beach ramp also served cars and at the bottom of the ramp orange pylons mark boundaries to make the ramp clear to cars. As I approached the bottom I could see the unmistakable tracks of a sea turtle where she had come out of the ocean, laid her eggs, and went back into the ocean. If the turtle’s goal had been to lay her eggs at the base of the southernmost pylon, she could not have done any better.
The individual responsible for turtle nests for this area of beach is a park ranger who walks it on foot because the beach south of the ramp is an environmentally sensitive area and vehicles are not allowed.