The Requirements Management Process – Part 1
The definition of requirements management
Requirements management is an ongoing process that is maintained throughout the project lifecycle, and is the process of capturing, assessing and justifying stakeholders wants and needs.
It requires the capture of requirements from a structured process, and this process should incrementally breakdown the requirements in a hierarchical manner, considering different conditions and scenarios.
The requirements, and once defined, must be validated with the project sponsor perhaps including other key stakeholders to ensure the full scope has been captured.
The purpose of requirements management
Such requirements become the principal project deliverables, and it therefore helps to define the project scope. This allows the project team to understand the exact deliverables of the project and how the work will be structured to meet the requirements and deliver the scope.
Defining the requirements
Once initial identification of requirements has been undertaken, system analysis can then be undertaken looking at each requirement in turn and analyzing the risks, assumptions, interfaces, dependencies, opportunities and constraints associated with the requirement.
This will then allow the design and build phase of the project which is often the implementation phase of the project lifecycle.
Ideally, each phase would be completed prior to the next one starting, but in reality this process is often iterative and cyclical, with requirements being continually analysed an evaluated whilst the design is being finalized and build has commenced.
Creating the requirements description
A requirement must be described in such a way that meets the following criteria:
- It is fully up to date with regard to latest technology for example or to the latest legislation
- It is relevant to the sponsor in organizations and business benefits
- It does not contradict any other requirements
- It is concisely and precisely described so that it is not open to different interpretations
- The achievement of each requirement can be demonstrated
- Each requirement can be traced from the operating need of the organization, through to the plan, to what is delivered
- The importance of each requirement in relation to other requirements is understood, and this may include prioritization
- Each requirement can be linked to the product breakdown structure and work breakdown structure, and activities in the project, for example by using activity coding
Once all project requirements have been satisfied, then the project is complete.
Factors to consider when defining requirements
When defining requirements, it is important to consider what the acceptance criteria will be and how these will be defined. It may be useful to examine requirements and acceptance criteria useful previous projects of a similar nature.
It is also important to take standards, legal acts and regulations to be complied with into account when requirements are defined.
Key prerequisites needed for requirements management
These can be seen as the inputs necessary for requirements management to be successful:
- Mature business case
- Contractually documentation containing requirements where applicable
- The current list of project assumptions and constraints
- The initial risk register
- The current statement of work
- The project execution plan
- Supporting management plans including benefits, quality and risk
- Applicable standards