What's Your Requirements Architecture Mean to You?

From the Project Management 2.0 Blog
New technologies, concepts, and Web 2.0 tools are popping up everywhere. How can you use them to help your project team collaborate, communicate - or just give your project an extra boost? [Contact Dave]

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Situation: You want to understand how organizational influences impact your work.

A project starts as an idea.  That idea turns into something more concrete, then goes through cycles of changes – influenced by people, tools, timing, and more.  As new tools are brought in, organizations look at their projects through different lenses and those points of view affect project results.  I think it’s interesting to look at where your organization is focusing on and how its influencing projects.  Understanding your organizational bent can make you more effective within your own sphere of influence.

Is getting what you intended to do - “Done” - most important?
A single software project involving several developers can involve requirements that are complex enough for any project manager.  Of course, there are Software Configuration Management (SCM) tools (What we used to call Version Control Systems) that help development teams manage versions of software and the related changes that are made during the development process.  Project Managers are typically concerned with changes at a higher level – looking at release cycles and business requirements that are more visible to sponsors.  For many companies, this is where requirement tracking stops and they’re happy with it that way.  Jama Software recently came out with a JIRA (defect tracking) connector for their Coutour (requirements management) product that they feel addresses the most critical communications gap that exists in requirements management, bridging developer-speak and PM-speak.  The focus here is on specifying exactly what is needed and verifying that its getting done. (AKA “doing things right”)

Is reviewing what’s being done and refocusing most important?
Add more projects, some spanning various functional areas of the business, and you can create a real management nightmare – even if what you are building is well defined in every case.   Portfolios of projects nearly always create the need for an even higher level of shared understanding between PMs and executive management.  Strategic prioritization efforts influence project requirements in unexpected ways almost as a PPM side effect.  If, as a project manager, you’ve ever been blindsided by a large scale change in plans – you know the impacts here can be huge.  In theory, at a high level the right things are always being done.  (AKA “doing the right things”)

Is optimizing the use of resources most important?
For larger organizations,
we’ve talked about Application Portfolio Management (APM) that aims to reduce the size and maintenance costs of the application portfolio so funds can be put towards new strategic development.  For companies that need a more robust way of tracking incredible complexity and optimizing the use of resources to create strategically important outcomes is most important.   (AKA “doing the right things in the most effective way”)

What does your organization focus on?  Is it driven by new tools being brought in?  Why does it work or not work for you?

Posted on: August 01, 2009 10:51 PM | Permalink

Comments (4)

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Too many tools are thrown into the mix without proper vetting. Some tools can make a PM's life more difficult instead of helping. Especially when everyone is trying to tie the flavor of the month to all the past flavors. We need better PM processes for identify the proper tools instead of always looking for the next best thing. We need to use sound PM practices when choosing PM tools. I'll get off my box now.

I think a lot of people would agree with you. What do you feel is most important when defining a process like that? For example, we have an Application Solution process based on the "rolling flunk" (meet requirement sets or be excluded)

Gantthead's sister pub, Projects@Work has a PPM Software Evaluation Tool that lists out over 100 potential requirements for selecting a PPM tool.

If we wanted to provide something better, what would that look like?

Thanks for sharing

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