Join Haydn Thomas for an in-depth discussion in this video Measuring verification activities, part of Business Analysis Foundations.
- I am fond of the color blue while my wife is more partial to purple. It is interesting how two people can see the same thing and have widely differing views as to how desirable it may be. Unfortunately that can be the case with requirements you collect. Sound verification techniques with appropriate metrics to measure your success can help you overcome changing colors when what you started with would work all along. Here are approaches you can use to ensure you are appropriately verifying your requirements.
First ensure aligned understanding. On occasion different people will interpret something you've written differently from others. While often unavoidable that does not necessarily mean you should change your requirements. If multiple people interpret what you have written in the same way differently from what you meant, that is an indication that you need to clarify what you have written. A rule of thumb here. If nine out of 10 people have a common understanding of what you are trying to convey, you have likely written a valid requirement.
Second, watch for differences of opinion. Any differences should be explored to see if you can find common ground. Seek to understand the concern, focusing on the perceived business impact. Try to resolve the differences if you can. If the issue is simply a concern about change itself it's probably okay to move forward, even if some conflict exists. Rule of thumb here. If 75% of the people you talk to believe the requirements or approach will bring business value, you are likely okay to move forward.
Third item, watch for missing or invalid requirements. 90% or more of the people you use to validate your requirements should believe the requirements are complete for the intended scope of your project. If that is the case you are likely in good shape to move forward. That being said, in the event someone says that something is missing, it is a good idea to capture that idea and share it with others. In a case where someone says the requirement is invalid try to understand exactly how the requirement is inaccurate in business process terms.
The idea here is to sort out actual business problems from personal items that present uncomfortable change. Actual business process issues should be investigated further through interviewing with other stakeholders. Fourth, look for alignment between managers and workers who are executing processes. Management goals often will differ from perceptions and opinions of their team members. Management might be looking for process effciencies and greater throughput that will make their teams wary.
This is not unusual and it will likely not vary your requirements. However at times team members will convey more detailed knowledge of processes than their managers possess, and that knowledge should cause you to refine your stated requirement. There is no metric rule of thumb for this area. If you find a process detail that puts the validity of requirements at risk you should refine that requirement or drop it altogether and review your changes and rationale with management. Lastly, ensure personnel understand how your requirements will achieve project goals.
While some people have a very narrow focus and will not be able to tie specific changes in their business area to overall goals, most people actually do if your requirements and goals are clear. If 80% of people feel business objectives can be achieved by what you are proposing you are likely in good shape to proceed. So that's it, your validation measurement palette to make sure your project stays green instead of red, no matter what your favorite color is.
Discover where business analysis lives in the project life cycle, how to initiate a project, the best way to gather requirements, and smart strategies to monitor results and test outcomes.
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- Understanding what business analysts do
- Defining business opportunities and objectives
- Identifying stakeholders
- Gathering requirements through observation and brainstorming
- Validating requirements
- Developing project acceptance criteria
- Implementing, testing, and closing your project<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.