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Requirement Management: Wrestling the 1000-pound Business Gorilla

By Hank Salvacion, Analytics Group
Friday, February, 6 2015

Despite the rise of smart technology, today’s business managers face the same challenge: how to deliver their product or service on time, on budget, and to the customer’s specifications. This challenge translates into a set of requirements for the business to satisfy in order to meet their goals. Business requirements come from all angles, and all of them require due diligence to produce a successful result.

Simply put, a business requirement is anything a company needs to deliver or accomplish: projects, jobs, products, assets, and timelines. Successful companies put a process in place to manage their deliverables and data in an adroit, agile, and responsive fashion.

Business requirements demand attention, often at the manager level. Like a concert, many instruments and elements work in tandem towards the completion of a piece. But unlike a concert, projects have outside factors that inevitably affect the outcome: the price of shipping suddenly doubles, a critical product component goes out of stock, the IRS finds an error in your tax documents, your CIO goes on maternity leave, or the client calls you the day before delivery to tell you he’s completely changed his mind on what he wants.

“Nothing is ever simple”—a common lament of the business manager. It’s a daily wrestling match, and sometimes it feels like your opponent is a 1000-pound gorilla.

How do you get a successful process in place? Many generations of business productivity software exist (the concept predates computers), but they’re only as good as the base templates and programming of the time. Although programs get updated, keeping up with technological and business process advances is a hidden cost of both time and effort.

There are three major factors to track: data, assets, time. Where you are now? Where do you want to be? Build your road-map from there. If your requirement management tools don’t align you with your goals, retool your business “hammer.”

No matter how smart, how organized, how professional you are, none of us can keep track of it all. The 21st century is technology-driven and requires skilled handling of technology to keep going forward. Communication is crucial to requirement management, so your tracking software MUST integrate with your communications tools and company dashboard. If your software makes it tedious or difficult to accurately document business activities, your team will be left to choose between sloppy results or wasted time.

Another attribute of modern requirements management is accountability. Real and personal accountability is one of the drivers of project management. When your team knows who is responsible for what, and when the deadline is, they can focus on producing good results. Technology facilitates this and gives accountability life, Pygmalion-like.

Take a look at your personal business symphony. Are you maximizing the virtuosity of the “brass section” of your projects by understanding and dealing with their requirements? Are the needs of your “strings” being managed so they are most poignant and vibrant? Is your percussion on point and playing the counters well with dramatic symphonic conclusion? Or does your symphony look more like a gorilla wrestling match?

To make beautiful business music, you need to be the best director of your requirements management.