Myth Requirements Exist

That requirements exist is the fundamental assumption of all software development projects. At first they exist in the minds of the users, in documented form from which the design proceeds, and then form the basis for acceptance of the finished project.

As logical and hopeful as this may sound, it is generally not proven true. Although users know what they want, it is not unlike the Supreme Court's understanding of pornography: they know it when they see it. Until then, requirements are inchoate: inarticulate needs that do not, of themselves, describe the features and functions that would satisfy them.

What is widely attributed to scope creep, or the continuous expansion of the project requirements, is really just the natural process of distilling user needs into objective expression. For example, a requirement for a banking application might be to maximize the profitability of each customer. Once understood, this requirement spawns new requirements: the need to maximize the number of services sold to a single customer, which leads to the need for a unified database of all customers and services, and relational access among them.

Once the implementation begins, these requirements metamorphose into yet more: users realize that what appear to be many separate customers and accounts are often managed by a single individual, such as a parent creating trust accounts for children, and the requirement arises to define and associate subaccounts, followed by the need to present consolidated statements and reports ... and so forth, and so on.

Therefore, if the project manager assumes the requirements can be expressed coherently and completely before development commences, and the entire project plan and schedule is based on that assumption, subsequent changes wreak havoc. Scope creep, then, is really the inevitable realization that requirements are living, growing things that are discovered instead of defined.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment