Requirements are a Project’s Essential Ingredient

One often overlooked aspect of successful projects is the quality of its requirements.  About 40% of the originally-proposed features and functions that are defined for major projects actually ever get implemented. Of those that do, they are part of the more than 50% of projects that come in an average of 189% over their original budget estimates. (Standish Group, 1994)

There are numerous examples of failed projects being traced to poor requirements – everyone remember the debacle of the baggage handling system at Denver International Airport? Folks here in Colorado sure do!

Well, here’s another MUST WATCH video from the January 10th 2010 episode of “60 Minutes” that recently aired on CBS. It is a segment about the US Border Patrol and is titled “Watching the Border”. This video is well worth the viewing time of anyone involved with requirements development in their organizations. Their project issues underline why requirements development and management are absolutely critical to the success of any project. Here’s the link – grab a cup of coffee and get ready to spend 14 very interesting minutes …

When I was developing Learning Tree’s course on developing user requirements, I focused on addressing and solving these chronic requirements problems found in projects both large and small. Using a simulated case study environment, the course and its instructors enhance and hone everyone’s requirements development and management skills across the project life cycle. Want to learn more about this innovative experience? Have a look at our Identifying User Requirements course or send me your comments.

Susan Weese

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