Requirements Management

As has been explained previously, the main two components of a business case are 'what' is required and 'why' it is required. Requirements management is concerned with the 'what'.

Clients, end users and indeed most stakeholders have their own requirements on what they expect from the project even if the main objectives have been agreed. Requirements management is concerned with the eliciting, capturing, collating, assessing, analysing, testing prioritizing, organizing and documenting all these different requirements. Many of these may of course be the common needs of a number of stakeholders and will therefore be high on the priority list, but it is the project manager who is responsible for deciding on the viability or desirability of a particular requirement and to agree with the stakeholder whether it should or could be incorporated, taking into account the cost, time and performance factors associated with this requirement. Once agreed, these requirements become the benchmark against which the success of the project is measured.

Ideally all the requirements should have been incorporated as clear deliverables in the objectives enshrined in the business case and confirmed by the project manager in the project management plan. It is always possible, however, that one or more stakeholders may wish to change these requirements either just before or even after the project scope has been agreed and finalized. The effect of such a change of requirement will have to be carefully examined by the project manager who must take into account any cost implication, effects on the project programme, changes to the procedures and processes needed to incorporate the new requirement, and the environmental impact in its widest sense.

In such a situation, the project manager must immediately advise all the relevant stakeholders of the additional cost, time and performance implications and obtain their approval before amending the objectives, scope and cost of the project.

If the change of requirements is requested after the official start of the project, that is after the cost and time criteria have been agreed, the new requirements will be subject to the normal project (or contract) change procedure and configuration management described elsewhere.

To log and control the requirement documents during the life of the project a simple 'reporting matrix', as shown below, will be helpful.

No. Document Prepared Information Sent or copied Issued

(requirement) by from to date

Testing and periodic reviews of the various requirements will establish their viability and ultimate effect on the outcome of the project. The following are some of the major characteristics which should be examined as part of this testing process:

• Feasibility, operability and time constraints

• Functionality, performance and quality requirements and reliability

• Compliance with health and safety regulations and local bye-laws

• Buildability, delivery (transportability), storage and security

• Environmental and sociological impact

• Labour, staffing, outsourcing and training requirements.

There may be occasions where the project manager is approached by a stakeholder, or even the client, to incorporate a 'minor' requirement 'as a favour'. The dangers of agreeing to such a request without following the normal change management procedures are self apparent. A small request can soon escalate into a large change once all the ramifications and spin-off effects have become apparent as this leads to the all too common 'scope creep'. All changes to requirement, however small, must be treated as official and handled accordingly. It may of course be politically expedient not to charge a client for any additional requirement, but this is a commercial decision taken by senior management for reasons of creating goodwill, obtaining possible future contracts or succumbing to political pressure.

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.

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