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Lesson Learned: Understanding Project Requirements

You’d be surprised by the amounts of projects that fail from the simple miscommunication of not being able to clearly understand the requirements set by stakeholders. No matter what size of the project, without being able to fully understand the purpose, goals, and needs of a project, the project manager is not able to make the decisions necessary to keep the project on track and successful. Stakeholders can often be vague about requirements or sometimes are not fully clear on the true purpose and requirements for the project themselves, but it is your role as a project manager to ask the right questions to the right people to define clear project requirements.

       We’ve experienced the frustration of managing a project without clear requirements too many times to make the mistake again and want to share our lessons learned and recommendations.

Our recommendations:

  • Host a discovery brainstorming session to discuss not only the desired solution but more importantly the heart of the problem you are aiming to solve.
  • Distribute a pain point questionnaire to a large range in the organization to solicit as many viewpoints as possible.
  • Review & prioritize requirements analyzed against the goals of the initiative.
  • Finalize requirements and scope for stakeholder review & approval to verify alignment.
  • Throughout execution, assure your team is working on the correct activities to meet requirements and track and communicate to prevent scope creep.

       Managing a project is much more than a “to-do” list, it's essential to work with stakeholders prior to planning the project to define, analyze and prioritize requirements and then set up a tracking system to assure all milestones are being met.