You got assigned to a project. Very exciting. Everyone is ready to start, but the number one question, “What are we delivering?” As a project manager, it’s not up to you to guess what it is, you need to collect the requirements for the project.
Collecting requirements defines and documents the project and product features and functions needed to fill the stakeholder’s needs and expectations. Ok great. How do you documents do you need to start? Glad you asked. You will need a project charter, it’s a document that authorizes the project and assigns/authorizes the project manager and you will need a stakeholder register. It’s a document that lists all project stakeholder information.
Now you have the project charter and stakeholder register. What’s your next step? Good question! You need to conduct interviews with your stakeholders. Depending on the project, these could be as simple as a phone call or a formal meeting with the stakeholders to find out what they want. This can happen once up front, but more complex projects will have more than one session. Sometimes the stakeholders don’t know what they want (shocked, right?). So you can conduct questionnaires, surveys, focus groups, and even develop prototypes to decide what the end result is. Please, please remember these all have a cost and timing associated with it. So if you know your stakeholders are going to want to do this, make sure you add it to your overall scope.
After all the exhausting work, what else do you need? Yep, another document. Wait, what? Another document? Yes, we must document everything because the last thing you want is the stakeholder to blame any miscommunication on you. What you need to develop is a requirements documentation, a requirement management plan and requirements traceability matrix. A requirements document describes how each requirement meet the business needs of the project, the requirements management plan documents how requirements will be reviewed, recorded and managed and a requirements traceability matrix is a document that lists the requirements to when they were created and follows them through the project.
Now, let’s be realistic. Will you do all of those things? Probably not, but it is necessary to incorporate them into your overall projects. How? You are really asking some good questions!
For example, your requirements management plan can be incorporated into your overall schedule. So when you review something internally (in advertising, we call it WIPs or work in progress) you add that into your schedule. The requirements traceability matrix can be part of your overall quality control documentation.
Take a look at your project and see how these plans can come in handy.