Join Terri Wagner for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting scope and requirements, part of Project Management: Preventing Scope Creep.
Having clearly defined scope and requirements from the beginning of the project will help prevent scope creep. You want to lay the ground work for successfully defining, planning, and completing the scope and requirements work of the project. The approach will vary depending on whether you anticipate this to be a plan-driven or a change-driven project. A plan-driven approach will focus on ensuring that the solution is fully defined before its implementation begins. Change-driven approaches are used on projects where many small iterations are defined and developed enroute to the final result.
Once the approach has been determined, you conduct the stakeholder analysis, the basis of your scope and requirements. Think of the stakeholders on a project like members of a sports team. Each stakeholder has a particular position to play as a member of the team. Some of your stakeholders are starters and play the whole game. Others substitute in and out during the game. Others may coach, bring water out on the field, or cheer from the sideline. When gathering requirements, recognize the importance of knowing, understanding, and involving your team.
Requirements analysis will focus on analyzing what your stakeholders have told you, and defining which capabilities need to be part of the resulting solution. This requires prioritizing stakeholder and solution requirements. As you'll often have more requested deliverables at this stage, then your budget or timeline allow for, knowing the role of the stakeholder who contributed the idea will also help in the prioritization when the time comes to trim the requirements list to match your constraints. A requirement suggested by the coach of your team will most likely have higher priority than one suggested by a substitute player. Requirements prioritization allows you to determine the relative importance of requirements against criteria such as business value, business or technical risk, implementation difficulty, likelihood of success, regulatory or policy compliance, relationship to other requirements, stakeholder agreement or urgency.
The selection of requirements might be aided by a discussion with the stakeholders, dividing the requirements into four categories: must, should, could, won't. Once this exercise is complete, you'll have a common understanding on the importance they place on the delivery of each requirement. You should apply several elements when specifying and modeling the stakeholder or solution requirements on your project, such as writing text requirements, using matrix documentation such as tables, building graphical models, capturing requirement attributes.
The most common is text requirements which describes your solutions capabilities, conditions and constraints. Good technical writing skills are essential. Writing text requirements is not an exercise in creative writing. You want your text requirements to be written in simple sentences that are clear, concise and complete. In the Exercise Files for this video, I include a book reference that can provide you with more information on this and other techniques. Successful projects start with defining and agreeing to what is needed.
Without the ability to analyze your stakeholder's stated requirement and determine the real requirements for your project, you will find it difficult to deliver a successful solution to your stakeholder. How well does your organization state, document, and agree on the scope and requirements of your projects. Begin to think about improvements you would like to see. I encourage you to create a list of items that are missing from your scope templates and work on building those into your methodology.
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- What is scope creep?
- Why does scope change?
- Factoring in organizational maturity
- Setting scope and requirements
- Building a budget
- Resetting unrealistic expectations
- Resolving communication issues with stakeholders<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.