Requirements Gathering: Is Being “On Time, On Scope and On Budget” Enough for Success?

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It is often said that if you deliver a project that is “on time, on scope and on budget” you have a successful project. We, at Advisicon, take that concept a bit further. We say that if you manage stakeholder expectations and meet the customer’s requirements – then you have a successful project. You may have gone a little over budget or over on schedule, or you may have revised scope, but if you deliver exactly what the customer is needing and it helps them get back to the business of driving their business forward – your project is a success!

In order to reach this very important place, a great emphasis needs to be put on accurate requirements gathering and management. Often customers are eye deep in feeling the pain of their current situation that they try to tell you the solution, rather than what they are trying to achieve. This is a very important distinction.

Being told a solution by a customer and running with that is short-sighted. Advisicon explores with the customer the driving need or needs behind wanting the solution. The customer may find out that the solution they thought they needed is not necessary at this point in time, but can be put on a road map for future scalability. A solution that can grow and accommodate future needs will impress a customer much more than something that just immediately may ease their burden, but then not be of very much help to them when the next growth spurt or change in direction occurs.

It is our job as consultants (and from Advisicon’s point of view partners in their solution) to discover what the pain points are now, and take them through not only what they need immediately, but where they would like to be in the future.

Here is a perfect example. A customer reached out to us stating that they need Microsoft Project Server. Well, we saw right away that they were giving us a solution, not requirements to help them relieve current pain points and to meet their goals, now and in the future.

As we took them through a thorough requirements gathering process we realized:

  • They had one project manager/scheduler and that they knew how to use Microsoft Project
  • They were in need of high level team task visibility with the ability for team members to update tasks.
    • This would also lighten the overhead of the project manager manually updating everyone’s task.
  • They also hoped for more general resource visibility across the enterprise
  • Having a place to collaborate would be nice
  • Executive management also wanted an easy report for weekly or bi-weekly viewing on overall project health
  • They also had a relatively small team of less than 15 people across the enterprise

So instead of implementing Microsoft Project Server 2010 – a solution that was really too large for their current environment and needs, and very costly to their budget constraints, we deployed one copy of Microsoft Project 2010 Professional, and helped them deploy SharePoint Foundation.

This solution:

  • Gave the project manager the necessary control over the schedule development and tasks
  • Allowed the capability to sync task lists between Microsoft Project Professional and SharePoint Foundation
  • Gained visibility in task progress
  • Exposed general resource usage across their enterprise
  • Empowered their team to perform more real time updates to task progress
  • Provided a single hub for team collaboration and communication
  • Enabled the project manager to provide reporting through easy to configure views (including the new 2010 timeline feature) for reports
  • Started a scalable path that can accommodate future needs as the customer grows

In assuring that the solution satisfied validated current requirements, the customer is in a better place to grow into a larger scale system, such as Microsoft Project Server 2010. Maximizing this scalability also helps ensure organizational adoption too.

We were able to create a solution with a better fit that met their needs now, but also started paving the way for a more robust system to accommodate the growth they planned for in the future. The savings in cost from matching them to a better fit solution also brought immediate return for the customer.

Advisicon feels requirements is such an important factor we have developed a class dedicated to efficient requirements collection. Contact us for more information on our Mastering Requirements Gathering course – it is offered both as a public class and as a private on-site class.

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Advisicon is a Project, Program & Portfolio Management Company. We transform your organization's project management with a mix of methodology and technology that delivers results. Our team specializes in technology implementations, application and workflow development, training and consulting.
5411 NE 107th Ave, Suite 200
Vancouver
WA
98662
United States