Slashing Risks with User Experience Engineering (Part 2)

Dmitri is a User Experience (UX) and Interaction Designer in Toronto.

In Part 1, we introduced the idea of User Experience Engineering (UX) and the core tools and processes we use today to conduct user research. Let me continue by showing the core principle that all user research is based on--and how you can use it to combat scope creep and other requirements-based risks right now.

What's Wrong with Requirements Management?
As I mentioned, last year's PMI study shows that 47% of unsuccessful projects fail due to poor requirements management, so let's see if we can figure out why is this happening. Let me ask you: What are the two key characteristics of great business requirements? Complete and traceable, correct?

We wanted to make sure that all 100 percent of the user requirements are captured and nothing is missed. Then we wanted to make sure that each of the use cases is there to implement a specific user requirement.

Then the biggest risk inherent in requirements management is the scope creep. That's when new requirements are “discovered” after the implementation phase has started, throwing a monkey wrench into your schedule and your budget. Scrum and other agile methods then came to the rescue with splitting the project into a number of small iterations, reducing the impact of these after-the-fact revelations.

But small things still add up to big numbers. So wouldn’t it be nice to figure out why …

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