Project Management

Connect the Dots: The Integrated Approach to Requirements

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Requirements are fundamental to project success. Without a well-defined set of requirements, the project has no chance to be successful--there will be no clarity as to exactly what has to be built, how to determine if it is successful or whether it meets the goals and objectives that prompted the project to be approved in the first place.

While most organizations recognize this importance, few of them do a good job of tracking requirements from end to end in a project--instead considering the requirements definition process as a standalone process that is relatively self-contained. In this article, I want to look at requirements as a more integrated part of the project process, as well as connecting them to the more strategic development of the organization.

Requirements capture and refinement
Let’s start by considering requirements from a broader perspective. Some initiatives that an organization undertakes can be considered as true one-off events. These are the projects that begin in one part of the business in response to a unique challenge; the project is defined and executed, and then the work is complete, never to be considered again.

However, in many situations things are more complex--a project may release a new version of an existing product, an upgrade to an existing system, a refinement to a set of processes that are in use, etc. Alternatively,…

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