Latest "accountability" Posts
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.
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.
An armadillo had been struck by a car near my house. I live in Florida and anything that dies, quickly has vultures on its remains. I was close enough to the carnage to hear the vultures and the sliding of the Armadillo’s carcass, as it was being dragged on the street as the vultures pulled and tugged on it. As I watched from my garage, it was apparent that a few vultures were doing the majority of the work, while some just observed from the sideline. These sideline vultures did nothing but position themselves near the Armadillo’s carcass, while the other vultures worked on it. However, as soon as one of the working vultures pulled out a large chunk of fresh Armadillo, the sideline vultures sprang into action by trying to steal the meat from the vulture that had worked to remove it.
A second-career program manager (who retired as program manager for one company and came out of retirement for another company) confided in me that he believed his organization would perform better program management without any of the automated project management tools on the market today.
He further stated that too many people think the tool is the solution—that the tool will solve all the communication problems and virtually run the project as if it is on cruise control. His point was that he thinks many project managers today have become simple administrators, essentially bean counters rather than implementers of the project. As such, the bean-counting project managers rely on the tool to send automated e-mail messages to team members informing them that a task is behind schedule or completed.