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.
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 caused by undertaking work 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.
With no requirements, you will build a system that does not meet the business needs. The project schedule will blow out. And the project budget will be overspent by thousands of dollars.
3. Allows traceability of deliverables
Clearly defined requirements allow you to understand and easily track your project deliverables.
A traceability matrix will match requirements against delivery milestones.
A traceability matrix ensures clear scope boundaries are defined.
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’
Saying ‘no’ will be easier with clearly defined requirements. Project Managers will clearly see what IS and ISN’T in scope.
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 agreed to be funded.
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.