Project Management

Keep Dreaming

Donna Boyette

How would you like to hear this from a customer: “We want the application as quickly as possible, but I know we’ll have to invest some serious time in the requirements stage before we’ll know how much time your team will need to develop it.  Don’t worry about how long it takes to get a complete set of requirements.  We’re ready to work with you.  And we ordered pizza for everyone!”

Hey, wake up!  Stop dreaming…it will never happen.  But you could come close.  If you want your next project you to be more successful than the last project, use these hints and the user-requirements explanation at the end of this article to motivate your users to be intimately involved during this stage of the project.

Instead of bemoaning the fact that gathering requirements is as much fun as exploratory surgery, start with the best in mind and see how close you can get.  If you could dream up the ideal scenario for gathering requirements, it might go something like this.

Dream Scenario:
Joe used to be a user in the group for which your team is designing a new application.  He was then promoted to manager before finally coming on board your team.  Joe is intimately familiar with what the users need, what management needs from the application and how the system can deliver it.  He can design it and then code it to specifications with no help from anyone.  

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- Thomas Carlyle