Stamping Out Requirements Dysfunction
I believe without any doubt that all project failures are related to miscommunication of requirements. If you consider project failure to be a result of not meeting time, cost or scope expectations, you might find the statement a little obvious. But that's not exactly what I mean. Time, cost and scope are tangible constraints which organizations usually define well and are relatively easy to measure. The requirements I am talking about are the ones that define the purpose, function and value--the “business requirements”--as the source of project failure because they are hard to define.
Why Defining Requirements is Hard
Shouldn't it be easy to just state something as basic as a need? You would think so, but human beings tend to think about things in tangible terms and within a context they know. As such, an individual will tend to define requirements as a “want” or “solution” that is limited to their singular knowledge set.
A mythical quote by Henry Ford says, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." This statement is mythical because there is a debate over whether or not Henry Ford ever really said the quote; regardless, I still think it is brilliant and really amplifies the point that customers tend to think of needs in terms of known solutions.
For example, when
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