Random Acts of IT Project Management

Project Management for Information Technology

Avoiding Project Failure: Gathering Requirements

Posted by iammarchhare on 28 May 2009

After a round of LinkedIn discussions about project failure, it was a general consensus that most project failures stem from bad or vague requirements.  This is a recurring theme in project management, it seems.  Well, in “Eight Things Your Business Analysts Need to Know”, it appears that Brad Egeland would agree:

In an online poll of 2,000 business professionals, the question was asked, “What are the key challenges in translating user needs into system specifications for mission critical projects?” 50% stated poor requirements definition as the key challenge. Inadequate risk management (17%), poor scope control (15%), and communication problems (14%) followed far behind as key challenges.

After the discussion online, someone posed the question to me, “Who should gather the requirements?”  Again, Egeland’s article answers the question, “What about the business analysts?  What role do they play?”

Egeland’s article, which distills down a whitepaper from Gantthead, goes on to identify 8 competency areas for BAs.

But, you know, input from a BA is usually not hard to get on a decent-sized project.  On smaller projects, though, it can be difficult to even get a BA assigned.  So, now what?  Well, it usually falls to the project manager if a project falls under a certain number of hours.  Therefore, it would behoove any decent PM to check out these competency areas as well, especially the first 5.  Don’t be afraid to pull in an architect or a SME to answer questions, either.

If you really want to rescue a project from the safety of victory and dash it into the jaws of defeat, though, then ignore competency #6 “End-User Support”.  How many projects have I seen that were “done” but lived on as the walking dead that sucked the life out of team members long after it was put away?

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Avoiding Project Failure: Gathering Requirements”

  1. […] Project Management Tips « Avoiding Project Failure: Gathering Requirements […]

  2. […] However, in the thread comments, jayl posted a division consisting of project manager, technical manager and business manager/analyst, which is even better, IMO.  I agree with his/her assessment that all 3 need to maintain the relationship.  Furthermore, it points out that at least 2 people need to be filling some combination of these roles.  This is similar to my recent posting that sometimes a PM is also playing a BA. […]

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

 
%d bloggers like this: