project scope

5 Reasons Why Business Requirements Help Lock in Project Scope

One of the major benefits of clearly defining your business requirements is they help to lock in project scope.

This might not seem to make sense initially, but here are the five reasons why this is the case:

1. Clearly sets project boundaries

By defining your requirements based on your business process you are defining and placing boundaries around what it is that you are replacing or changing.  This is, of course very obvious when you come to think about it.

Business process A goes from here… to here and does (a), (b), (c) and (d).  The outputs from this are ‘xy’ and ‘yz’.

When you start work on developing your new system it is designed to do (j).

From your requirements, you see you’ve got a problem.

Or, you have developed your system based on your requirements; it ticks the boxes of doing (a), (b), (c) and (d) but the output is nothing like ‘xy’ or ‘yz’ then something is wrong.

The upside is you may have created a more efficient and effective process.

2. Stops scope creep

 ‘Scope creep’, is ultimately the addition of items that were not detailed in your initial requirements.

Scope creep occurs when you start to add bits and pieces, ‘Oh they’re only small’.

The effects of scope creep are tangible on your project.

You will find you have a system not built to meet your requirements, a blown out schedule, and your budget is overspent by thousands of dollars.

3. Allows traceability of deliverables

Clearly defined requirements allow you to understand and easily track your project deliverables.

Delivery milestones will be matched against requirements through a traceability matrix.

A traceability matrix ensures that clear boundaries around scope are defined and  IF you are the Project Manager ensures that you are ‘managing’ the project in the right way.

Only the defined items must be delivered and all of the defined items must be delivered.

4. Provide the Project Manager with the mandate for saying ‘No’

Project Managers will find it easy to say ‘no’ when the requirements are properly developed.

He or She will be able to see if what is being developed meets a requirement or not. If it doesn’t the answer to undertaking the work is, no.

This ensures only delivery of what has been captured as ‘in scope’ for this phase of the project will be completed.

It is even better if you identifying requirements which are mandatory for the first phase of the project.

5. Project Steering Committee will approve your defined scope

The Project Initiation Document (PID) should articulate what is and isn’t in scope for the project based on the defined requirements.

Your Project Steering Committee will then understand that the project costs and timelines have a clearly defined scope and that this ‘defined scope’ is what they are agreeing to fund.

Why it is important to lock in project scope

These five reasons should help you understand the real value of well-defined business requirements.

Scope adherence is a key element of on-time/on budget delivery of a project, and ultimately project success.

Karen