Requirements Management Ruminations

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A collaborative blog with contributions from members of the PMI Requirements Management Community of Practice and various authors and presenters who have dealt with the topic of requirements management.

About this Blog


View Posts By:

Cameron McGaughy
Abdulilah Angaa
Mike Frenette
Bobbye Underwood
Jhansi Vijayarajan
Victoria Cupet
Beth Ouellette
Elizabeth Larson
Ellen Gottesdiener
Mary Gorman
Rich Larson
Sally Elatta

Recent Posts

Natural Language Processing to sharpen up your requirements

Automating requirements review using Natural Language Processing

Actionable Agile Tools - a book review

What’s Hot and What’s Not--Trends in Business Analysis Webinar Follow-up

Project Managers Find New Rhythm at PMI® Global Congress’ First Agile Open Jam

Automating requirements review using Natural Language Processing

Ever wonder if the requirements you are writing make sense? Do you wonder about what you could do to improve them?  Make them more concise?  More accurate? 

I ran across a company recently that has developed a new approach to this with a product that scans the requirements you tag in your document and tells you what might be improved.  The product is quite new, and they are looking for beta testers if you are interested. You can sign up at  I already have and am looking forward to trying something that is leading edge.

Have you had experiences with similar tools? Or is this approach using natural language processing new to you?  Comments welcome!

Posted by Mike Frenette on: May 05, 2016 12:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

You Don't have Requirements!

Categories: Project Requirements

So you think you know all the answers? Well.... you don't! If you are running projects, the people with the answers are your clients.. They will define the scope of your project, and the detailed requirements of what they want.

And guess what? If you don't ask them, you won't know the requirements. Seems pretty simple, doesn't it? Yet, amazingly, according to the 2014 Project Management Institute's Pulse of the Profession In-Depth Report on Requirements Management, "Poor requirements management is a major cause of project failure, second only to changing organization priorities."

How do you discover requirements on your projects? Conversations? Workshops? Interviews? Surveys? Once discovered, how do you record and confirm them? Documents? Emails? Memos? Phone calls? Texts? Data and Process Models? Other forms of models? And once discovered, documented and, hopefully, reviewed and approved, how do you make sure the project delivers what is expected?

So many questions, so few answers!

Oh... wait. There are answers! The Project Management Institute has recently released Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice Guide, written by some real gurus in the industry. I can personally vouch for the authors and the guide, having read their books and attended webinars some of them have presented. I also listened to their apt answers to some great questions from the audience at a recent panel session presented at the PMI Global Congress this past October. I've browsed through the new guide and am happy to report that it is brimming with great tools, tips and techniques to help you define, record and manage requirements in a project.

So - what are you waiting for? Go get the guide while it is still available for free download, read it, use it and spread the word!

In 2015, let's change it so poor requirements management is no longer the number two reason for project failure. Let's make the excellent management of requirements the number one reason for project success!

This same post drew some criticism on LinkedIn in that a responder suggested that you don't always have a client, citing products like the iPhone, Twitter and Facebook as being clientless.  What do YOU think? Is there such a thing as a clientless project where requirements appear out of the ozone? Or might that be a semantical argument about the word "client"?  Respond here (and on LinkedIn if you like.)

Posted by Mike Frenette on: December 23, 2014 09:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (12)

PMI Releases Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice Guide - free download for the next 6 months!

Did you know that according to research PMI conducted in 2014 that only 64% of completed projects met their original goals and business intent? That 16% of projects in the last 12 months were failures? That 37% of organizations reported "inaccurate requirements gathering" as the primary cause of project failure? That poor requirements management practices are the second leading cause of project failure, second only to changing organization priorities?

Thankfully, good business analysis on projects and programs result in customer expectations being met, engaged and committed stakeholders, projects that are more likely to be delivered on time and within scope and budget, implemented solutions that provide business value and meet stakeholder needs, all while developing reusable business analysis competencies for future projects.

The above are quotes and paraphrases from the recently released the Project Management Institute's 227 page Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice Guide. It is available for free download for the next six months. Written by experts in the field, it is chock full of solid tools and techniques to help you succeed on your projects and programs in the area of business analysis and requirements management.

Why not get it today and learn more about Needs Assessment, Business Analysis Planning, Requirements Elicitation and Analysis, Traceability and Monitoring and Solution Evaluation? From SWOTs and Five Whys to Use Cases and Wireframes, and everything in between, you will be glad you did!

And keep an eye on this Blog for possible posts by some of the Practice Guide's core and review committee members, among them Elizabeth Larson, Rich Larson and Ellen Gottesdiener.

Get your free copy here for the next six months at this link:

Posted by Mike Frenette on: December 09, 2014 03:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Top Tips for Effective Requirements Management

My colleague Beth Ouellette and I had a little fun at the Phoenix PMI Congress with our presentation of Top Tips for Effective Requirements Management collected through a survey of the 18,000 member Requirements Management Community of Practice and through the webinars presented to the Community over time.  We thought we would liven things up a little by presenting short vignettes acted out by volunteers from the audience.  Following are the names of the skits with a brief explanation of what they were meant to convey. The first five convey project issues. The rest show actions you can take to manage requirements to help drive project success.

  1. Perfect Project, Imperfect Results - The Iron Triangle is satisfied, but the project provides little business value.
  2. The Elastic Project - Your clients want an Agile project, but they still want a fixed price.
  3. Here's Your Hat - What's Your Hurry? - Too many defects found in user acceptance testing.
  4. The Silo Projecct - Integration and interfaces with other projects is unclear.
  5. What to Expect When Your Client is Expecting - Your clients' expectations are too high.
  6. As Time Goes On, You Realize - Time lags for various approvals slows the project life cycle.
  7. The Only Constant Is... - Too many changes through the course of the project.
  8. Ten Pounds of Bologna In a Five Pound Skin - Clients expect budget to be static while scope increases.
  9. Dreamer - You're Nothin' But a Dreamer - Clients do not know what they want.

We wrapped up the session with the seven keys to requirements management success:

  1. Requirements must be managed to ensure true business value is achieved
  2. Involve the right people.
  3. Have the right expectations.
  4. Quality in requirements is as important or even more important than quality in the product.
  5. Consider the interface and integration points with other projects.
  6. Faclilitate timely approvals.
  7. Manage changes to requirements - they can completely alter the nature of a project.

What has been your experience with the impact of requirements on your projects?  Have you experienced any of the project and requirements issues we tried to get across with our humourous skits?  Maybe you were at the session in Phoenix and have something you'd like to add.

Top Tips for Effective Requirements Management
Posted by Mike Frenette on: November 17, 2014 09:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

"Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater."

- Albert Einstein