Collating Stakeholder Requirements and Finalizing the Project Requirements

After you have collected the requirements by using either manual methods or using software utilities, you move a step forward towards defining the scope of the project. As the next step, you collate the requirements you have collected from the stakeholder. It is not that all the requirements from every stakeholder makes into the final list of requirements. You have to meticulously study each and every requirement before you decide to include it in the final list. Depending on the merit of the each requirement, you include the requirement for the project.

To collate stakeholder requirements and finalize the project requirements, you must complete the following tasks:

Conduct Group Decision Making Session

After you have collected requirements from all the project stakeholders, you must collate all the requirements at single location so that you do not miss out on any of the requirement. As discussed earlier, it is not that every stakeholder requirement can make it to scope of the project. You must make decision on the merit and importance of each requirement before selecting it for the project scope.

The requirements you have collected form the stakeholders might have several conflicting requirements. Therefore, you must review, analyze, accept or reject, and prioritize the requirements you have collected. To complete this exercise, you can either get a consensus to nominate a person, maybe yourself, or create a group of reviewers to make the decision of accepting or rejecting the requirements.

Assigning one person to make decision on behalf of the entire group is known as dictatorship method. It is simple and faster method. However, it can negatively impact the decisions because of biasedness, if any. Additionally, some of the stakeholders might not buy in to the decision made by a single person.

Opting to create a group of reviewers to make decisions is known as plurality method. In this method, a decision to accept or reject a requirement is made by taking majority approach. Usually, the group chooses the requirement that is backed by more than half of the members. However, if there is a fractured mandate, then the group goes with the decision that has largest number of supporters.

Create the Requirements Document

After you have collected and finalized the requirements, you must document these. The document you create as a result is known as Requirements Document and is an outcome of the Collect Requirements process defined in the PMBOK guide. Creating a Requirements Document makes sure that the requirements are clear and unambiguous. You can use this document to verify the requirements with the stakeholders and get their acceptance.

Balance the Stakeholder Requirements

As a project manager, it is very important for you to balance the stakeholder requirements. To balance the stakeholder requirements, you must make sure that you can meet the requirements within the objectives of the project. If you cannot meet the stakeholder requirements within the objectives of the projects, then you need to consider adjusting the scope, time, cost, quality, resources, risk, and customer satisfaction of the project. To balance the stakeholder requirements, you also need to prioritize the requirements and resolve conflicts, if any, among the requirements.

In the interest of the project, you must balance the stakeholder requirements that might or might not match the project or other stakeholder requirements. You must balance and resolve such requirement conflicts in the interest of the project. However, you must have clear project objectives before you can balance or resolve conflicts in the stakeholder requirements. Otherwise, it could become a very difficult task for you to balance and resolve stakeholder requirements in absence of the clear project objectives. Additionally, it would be easier for you to balance and resolve conflicts in the stakeholder requirements if you have identified prioritized all the requirements you have collected form all the stakeholders.

This is an ongoing process you would find in a real world projects. You might keep getting new or modified requirements from the stakeholders throughout the life cycle of the project. However, in the interest of the project, you must balance these requirements.

Resolve Competing Requirements

Different departments involved in the project life cycle have their own objectives and priorities set for the project. As a result, requirements from one department might conflict the interests of another department. For example, the aim of the development department might be to keep the defects in the project to be low even if they need additional resources. On the other hand, the objectives of the finance department could be to keep the budget or cost of the project as low as possible, thereby, conflicting the requirements with that of the development department. However, you must manage the requirements keeping the project as a whole in the mind and not according to the requirements of an individual stakeholder. Even if you need an intervention from the management, you must resolve such conflicts in the interest of the project.

When resolving conflict, you must keep in mind that you should accept only such requirements that comply with the business case for which the project was started, project charter, project scope statement, and project constraints. If the stakeholder requirement does not comply with these, you must reject the requirement. You must also reject a requirement that does not add something related to the business case of the project.

Create a Requirements Management Plan

As is the case with any activity of managing a project, you must plan to manage project requirements. When creating the plan to manage the requirements, you must describe the methods you plan to use to identify the requirements. Additionally, you must specify how you intend to analyze the requirements, prioritize the requirements, manage the requirements, and track the change requests for the requirements.

Create a Requirements Traceability Matrix

One of the biggest conflicts seen between the customer and project team is that the project delivered to the customer does not map to the actual expectations of the customer. This issue mostly arises when you do not have the requirement traceability matrix. This matrix helps you to track the requirements through out the life cycle of the project and makes sure that the actual requirement is addressed in the product.

When you start the process of identifying requirements, it might result in further refinement of the requirement. This, in turn, might completely redefine the requirement and you might lose track of where the actual requirement came from. To avoid such situations, you can create a requirements traceability matrix in a tabular form. The table contains an identification number for each requirement, its source, person assigned to, and the status of the requirement. Such matrix can help you to trace each and every project requirement and help you manage the customer expectations accordingly.

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