The Enduser

The end-user usually represents the client who will be using the solution once it is implemented. The analysts therefore need to meet with the end-user on a regular basis to determine their own respective requirements. Normally, the more knowledgeable the user is, the more likely key information will be included. Furthermore, leaving the end-user out of the analysis phase can lead to last minute design changes by the development team, as important functional issues could be resolved by listening to the day-to-day workings of the user.

It is advisable that during the analysis phase of the project, the analysts obtain a list of selected end-users from the client so that the business or systems analysts may have an idea of with whom they can work. These end-users eventually will be the individuals facing the questions and will be included in necessary business meetings.

OBTAINING PROJECT REQUIREMENTS

One of the most important steps in any project is to determine accurately what the client requirements will be. It's kind of like preparing a shopping list before going out shopping. Any missing items from the shopping list will have a direct influence on the end result. Similarly, on a project, it is vital that all the necessary client requirements be defined during the analysis phase in order to move forward. The biggest risk in not obtaining and approving all the project requirements up front occurs when the client starts changing or adding additional requirements to the scope of the project. These changes obviously have an effect on pricing, resources, and schedule. So the key factor here is to ascertain exactly what needs to be done. This is why many IT projects employ the services and skills of the analyst, who is a specialist in determining these requirements.

A common mistake that project managers make is to commence work on the next phase of the project before obtaining complete or approved business requirements. Revision upon revision of user requirements may have been developed, but somehow these requirements cannot be agreed upon. Nonetheless, the project manager needs to insist upon a completed User Requirement Specification (URS) before continuing the project.

In many cases the client has not been involved during the analysis, and the end result is that the deliverable differs from the client expectations. The client, accordingly, will not sign it off until the appropriate revisions have been incorporated into the URS. This delay can take weeks, if left unmanaged, and, at this stage, the project manager should be focused on finding ways to ensure that this deliverable can be completed.

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