We have been working on product requirements for a number of blogs now, and we will continue that topic for the next few weeks (with exceptions). Requirements are the central driving force behind the design for the product along with risk, cost, and the opportunity of reward for the company.
In general, requirement management consists of the 4 elements listed below:
- Evoke Requirements
- Evaluate Requirements
- Test Requirements
- Control Changes to Requirements
In this post, we are going to consider the evoking of requirements. This part of the requirements process requires questions and research. The questions are for us to understand the customer needs. This is often exacerbated by language differences, that is the customer may not speak the technical language. All the more reason to ask questions to bridge the gap between the customer and technical staff.
Our team will gather requirements from many sources. We may have sales and marketing personnel that bring to the development department, the trials the customer’s experience. The job of the development personnel is to find ways to solve these trials and improve the lives of our customers. There may be industry legal or regulatory dictates to which the customer or our business may be subjected, or the changes our customer may want are also bound by legal constraints.
Effective product development requires that we must understand the nature of the customer difficulty, balancing the objective and opportunity with risk and cost. The project will be very interested in this work, as this start setting the scope of the project. We will need to take the time to understand the objectives which can vary over the range of customers. To make the most of our time with the customer, we may interview a variety of customers, or very specific segment of customers, use surveys and other tools to evoke and understand the requirements as completely as possible.
We can learn considerably from a representation of the product. We may build mockups or models and get those would be customers to use these facsimiles to glean how the product will actually be used. Experience suggests one of the largest failures when it comes to requirements management is insufficient time evoking (including insufficient customer involvement) and evaluating the requirements. The more we understand the customer needs and constraints, the better off we will be in the long-term results of the project and product. Spending time understanding the final objective at product attributes. This understanding of the range of possibilities and product expectations will help us prioritize and plan the product functional growth over the product lifecycle. Once we understand this range of expectations, we can start the evaluation process.