September 21, 2020
How Reviewing Requirements Can Save You From Failing in Your Project?
A requirements review is a systematic process that involves engagement with key stakeholders from the user groups and the project team. This requirement review entails a detailed evaluation of the requirements document line by line.
Requirements authoring is a monotonous process. The complexity of this tedious exercise makes it inevitable that errors may occur at some stage. It is, therefore, important to have a requirements review process in place to identify areas that require correction and clarity.
Key stakeholders and the project team analyze the requirements to identify problems that may hinder the project. The purpose is to ensure that the requirements are complete, precise, clear, and that all stakeholders are on the same page.
Why Is Requirements Review Important?
The success of a project is largely dependent on a well-articulated requirements document. This is because it serves as a solid foundation. The reviewing of requirements is an opportunity to go through the requirements and identify errors and/or omissions.
Additionally, it confirms that the overall quality of the requirements is satisfactory before the project begins. It also serves as a final opportunity for all the stakeholders to communicate and confirm all project requirements.
Many stakeholders may complain that their schedules make it difficult to attend review meetings. But, requirements reviews are a crucial aspect of any project. As easy as it is to simply send the requirements document to key stakeholders for review, there is the risk that somebody with a busy schedule may approve without analyzing the document.
This will lead to misaligned expectations later on down the line and can be the downfall of a project.
Many stakeholders may also not be aware of what the actual content entails. Thus, having a review of requirements is essential to ensure that everyone understands the project.
Benefits Of A Requirements Review Meeting
Having a face-to-face or video meeting with stakeholders and project teams has many insightful benefits:
- Discussion among team members and stakeholders enables everyone to understand all interpretations of the requirements. This will help keep everyone on the same page as one person reviewing the requirements on their own could easily misinterpret something.
- It allows stakeholders to align with the scope of the project. Reviewing requirements confirms that they are clear enough for everybody to understand them in the same way. Furthermore, everyone involved gains insight into how the requirements affect them.
- For those stakeholders who are not entirely knowledgeable about requirements gathering, authoring, and reviewing, this is an opportunity for them to get informed about the process. Although this may not be crucial to the success of this particular project, it is useful in the long-term for future project efficiency.
Vital Steps In The Requirements Review Process
Here are the steps involved:
- Decide How To Conduct The Requirements Review
When deciding how you would like to conduct the requirements review, you must consider the following:
Is the review going to be formal or informal? With a formal review, the project teams go through a detailed analysis of each requirement with the stakeholders. An informal review is not as detailed and is more suitable for stakeholders who are familiar with the requirements review process.
Is the review going to be broad or focused? With a broad review, the whole team reviews the entire document and is more suitable for smaller documents. A focused review, on the other hand, is where sections of the document are distributed to different teams. This makes the review process a more manageable task when it comes to larger documents.
Is the review going to be face-to-face or remote? Although face-to-face meetings are the most suitable, this is not always possible where stakeholders are located far apart. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a shift where remote meetings are encouraged. Always ensure that proper communication and screen-sharing technology is available and fully operational.
- Identify The Participants And Schedule The Meeting
You must identify the correct participants for the requirements review and consider getting representation from each department, if possible. Wide representation is important to consider all points of view.
Ensure that you schedule the meeting well in advance to allow all key stakeholders to attend.
- Prepare For The Requirements Review Meeting
It’s important to distribute copies of the requirements document to all participants that will attend the meeting in advance. This gives them enough time to evaluate the document and adequately prepare for the meeting.
They can highlight anything that isn’t clear and make a note of any questions they have so that they can discuss and clarify these things in the review.
The agenda for the meeting must also be given out beforehand. This way, participants will be aware of how the review process works so that everything can run smoothly.
- Conduct The Requirements Review Meeting
Once the meeting commences, it’s a good idea, to begin with, ground rules. Besides distributing hard copies of the requirements document, it is advisable to project the document on a screen. This way, all participants can focus on the specific issues being discussed.
As specific sections are being evaluated, the meeting must address errors, omissions, conflicts, and contradictions.
It is important to get consensus from the participants at the end of the meeting regarding the document that has since been edited. Any outstanding concerns must be addressed before the meeting concludes.
This is a crucial step as it helps to ensure that everyone knows their role and responsibilities in the project. If the requirements are unclear to anyone involved, it could lead to major delays in the project.
- Follow Up
You must act on action items and update the requirements document as soon as possible. If there were significant changes, it might be necessary to conduct a second requirements review meeting. This will help to identify any further errors or inconsistencies.
The Bottom Line
The review of project requirements is a vital step in the project lifecycle and can help lead your project to ultimate success.
Reviewing your requirements can ultimately save your project from failing. This is because it helps to identify errors, omissions, conflicts, and contradictions. It is an invaluable exercise that will ensure that you can deliver the project efficiently – without unnecessary delays and added costs.