Posted by: kenwbudd | May 24, 2010

Project Managers Need to Engage IT At the Right Time | CIO – Blogs and Discussion

Making the alignment between requirements gathering and the IT analysts has much to do with the people that are assigned to create the project objectives i.e. the Project team. Specifically, this normally falls under the remit of the Project manager.

Issues with requirements management cannot be blamed on the IT organisation, the analysts or the process. If there is a mismatch, then that falls squarely at the feet of the PM.

I firmly believe that, given a sound set of well defined requirements, a professional and effective IT organisation will deliver on them. The problem comes in when the requirements are not clearly defined or contain too many assumptions.

Assumptions are the enemy of us all! Without tight constraints, most creative IT groups will typically over-engineer the project just because it’s a) fun to do b) something they can experiment with i.e. use a new technique or tool on c) better to cover you’re ass! So, again the issue is not where you ended up but where you began.

Get the right start

To get to the requirements right from the sart. You need the right people to define those requirements and, although they play a key role in the project and it’s succesful delivery, these are not the IT people.

If you let the IT people define the requirements they will follow a different track, the business will dis-engage and you will be on a diversive course from the beginning. You will find yourself acting as referee and peacekeeper between the two entities, which means you will not be spending enough time on your real job, as PM. In the end the business will blame you, as PMs and IT for the project’s failure to deliver on their needs.

The only people to define the requirements are the business people and end users. Try to keep IT people involved but kept at a safe distance from this part of the process.

IT people are very keen to be creative and can easily start designing a product, even before it is fully defined or fleshed out. IT people are excellent at telling you why something cannot be done rather than how it can be done. Therefore, the requirements must be well designed before IT starts any work.

They will determine how to get things done and overcome most obstacles. This is what IT people are really good at.

Therefore we should allow IT to do what they are good at and give the opportunities to succeed. Let the right people design the requirements and leave the design to IT.

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