Join Terri Wagner for an in-depth discussion in this video Conducting requirements prioritization, part of Project Management Foundations: Requirements.
- When constraints such as time or money limit what you can accomplish the priority of each noted requirement becomes very important. So you'll want to determine the relative importance of each requirement, decide which requirements need more analysis to best understand their priority and look at which requirements should be implemented first. Requirements are ultimately constrained by budgets and schedules. So you'll need to consider the trade offs in desired functionality to meet those constraints.
Prioritization of requirements assists with this decision making. In order to prioritize your requirements you'll need to decide with the assistance of your stakeholders what requirements are must-haves, what requirements are good-to-haves and what requirements are like-to-haves. Requirements prioritization is a consultative process. The customer makes the final decision. Remember too that all quality-related requirements are must-haves.
Let's look at three sample prioritization scales. Our first scale will sort requirements by high, medium, and low. Where high means this requirement must be included in the next release. A medium requirement means this requirement must be included, but can wait for a later release. And a requirement ranked as low would be nice to have if we can fit it in. Our next scale will sort requirements by necessary, important, or desirable.
Here, necessary means this requirement is mission critical. A requirement ranked as important supports necessary system operations and a desirable requirement provides functional, quality, or usability enhancements. A third model will sort requirements by essential, conditional, or optional. In this model, essential means the end product service or result is not acceptable without this requirement, where conditional is applied to a requirement that enhances the final product, but it's not unacceptable if absent.
If a requirement is marked optional that represents functions that might or might not be worth worthwhile. If you prefer a mathematical approach we can estimate the relative value of each requirement by first creating a ranking scale such as one to nine, with one being low and nine representing a high value. Then you or your subject matter experts will estimate the relative benefit and penalty for each feature. Then the sum of benefits and penalties reveals your relative value.
Once you have all the summations, then you can calculate the percent of total value coming from each feature. So for a really basic example of this tool, let's say you're remodeling your home. Your finances present a constraint so you'll have to select from a list of upgrades you would like to do. In this example, we consider upgrades that would install a new air conditioning unit, add a fireplace, or replace our old kitchen counters with some new fancy marble.
By discussing the benefits of having these new upgrades and the penalty without each feature we can numerically decide on the upgrades we'll include in the remodel. As you can see in our example, the AC unit happens to represent the highest percentage of value and would therefore be the feature we would decide to include. Consider our wind farm once again. The control monitoring system shall optimize or limit four variables.
Power output, generator speed, blade-angle adjustment, and wind turbine rotation. The project team will need to break this into four separate requirements and prioritize each one relative to the system and regulations governing these elements and relative to each other and other requirements. We should really take this list back to the stakeholders and get their input in establishing priority for the wind farm. How do you prioritize requirements in your projects? Are you able to balance your competing demands for time, cost, and the scope of your requirements?
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- Classifying requirements
- Developing requirements
- Investigating requirements
- Documenting requirements
- Validating requirements
- Managing changing requirements