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The PMBoK guide describes the scope management process as a project charter that describes projects business case. The project manager should ensure that all requirements support the project's business case. A Requirement of the stakeholders should be taken into consideration while defining product and project scope. WBS to be used to break the scope into smaller and more manageable pieces. Scope management process should be created from the customer's viewpoint. Scope performance is to be measured and adjusted as needed during the course of the project.
Stakeholders of a project play a very critical role in providing project requirements. Requirements are the need of any project or a product. Requirements should be able to fulfill the stated objectives. Requirements should not be included just because someone wants it. Requirements may be related to Quality, the business process, regulatory requirements, compliance, project management, among others. All of the requirements (including products and process) are taken into consideration by the Collect Requirements Process.
The initiating phase involves defining the high-level requirements of the project and product during the project charter phase. The Collect Requirements process goes into the details of seeking additional and more specific inputs on those requirements and any related supposition from all stakeholders. If any mistake happens gathering these requirements may result in the failure of the project or may result in many changes or may even result in conflicts throughout the project journey. Hence, this process of collect requirements is critical.
Identification of project stakeholders is the first step before collecting requirements. You can use a stakeholder register to record this information. The next step is to collect requirements from stakeholders. Do you think, it will be that easy to collect requirements? For certain projects, there could be multiple hundreds of stakeholders. Similarly, even the methods required for collecting those requirements may be different for different stakeholders. The project manager needs to engage devoted effort to collect all the requirements before work is initiated on the project. If this is not done appropriately, a large number of changes are required on the project leading to high cost and high efforts. Reviewing historical information and lessons learned could be involved in the effort of collecting requirements. The project manager makes a conscious choice to choose the most appropriate technique for the project and the stakeholders. Identification of risks during the risk management process could also use the same techniques of collecting requirements process.
Reviewing Historical Records:
Historical records and lessons learned are very critical for the project team that helps in understanding what were the requirements on similar projects and thus, help identify relevant processes. It also helps a new person understand expectations from the respective teams. Lessons learned from other projects may highlight common mistakes done by other project managers in defining the area of scope to ensure that such requirements are not missing on current projects.
In the PMP exam, this technique may also be called as expert interviewing. Various methods of interviews could be conducted by the project manager with project stakeholders to identify their requirements for the product or the process. The interviews can be conducted as one-on-one, emails, phone calls, group setting, letters or any other method.
In a focus group, the moderator or the facilitator plays a key role to gather inputs and thoughts that helps get the opinions and requirements for the product or an aspect of the project from a specific set of stakeholders or subject matter experts.
The process of bringing together the individuals / stakeholders of different perspectives to define the requirements of the product or service is called as facilitated workshops.
The method of brainstorming strives for group think. It really does not just mean a meeting with people to discuss ideas or seeking individual thoughts. Brainstorming helps produce large number of ideas in a short period of time. A participant of the brainstorming session can share an idea of determining the scope. That idea generates an idea from another participant which leads to yet another idea, and so on. The participants of a brainstorming session can vary. Individuals from different functions, backgrounds and perspectives can benefit the brainstorming session in a great way. The participants need not be just the individuals from the organization, they could be from outside the organization as well.
Nominal Group Technique:
This technique is done in continuation to the brainstorming meeting where the ranking of the most powerful ideas is done by the meeting participants.
This is a consensus technique with a difference. In this technique, the participants do not meet each other. A request for information is sent to the experts and their participation details are kept anonymous. Their responses are compiled, and the results are sent back to them for further review until a final consensus is reached.
A mind map diagram is used to generate ideas and classify them into logical groups. It is a tool used to visually organize the information. Many ideas are connected directly to the central core idea, and other ideas branch out from these.
The ideas generated from any other requirements gathering techniques are grouped by similarities in this technique. A title is given to each group of requirements.
Questionnaires And Surveys:
A questionnaire is designed to seek responses from respondents. The benefit of questionnaires and surveys is that it can be sent out to a large group.
A model of the proposed product is a prototype. Stakeholders present the prototype to seek feedback. Multiple versions of prototype may be created till all the requirements are captured, the model is finalized and approved.
There are multiple ways to make decisions in a group. Requesting inputs from all stakeholders may result in generating multiple ideas. These ideas may lead to confusion and may also lead to conflicts. They need to be reviewed, analyzed, approved or rejected and prioritized before recording them in project documents. A unanimous agreement on a requirement from the group makes the decision making easy. A single person making a decision for the entire group is known as dictatorship technique. This has an advantage of quick decision making. However, has a disadvantage of other stakeholders not agreeing in decision making done by the individual.
In group decision-making, there are many conflicting opinions. In these situations, groups may take a majority approach. In this technique, the group takes a decision which is supported by more than half of the members. In case there is no majority support, the group may go with the decision of the largest number of supporters. This is known as plurality technique. There is another technique known as the consensus approach. In this technique, the decision is made which is acceptable for the group. In case if there are certain members of the group who did not support the decision, they will willingly accept that most members of the group support.
Balancing Stakeholder Requirements:
Balancing stakeholder requirements involve prioritizing requirements. It also involves resolving any conflicts between them. It is an important aspect of Collect Requirements Process. The project manager has to ensure that the requirements are met within the stated project objectives. If the requirements cannot be met, then the project manager needs to identify options to adjust the competing demands of scope, time, cost, quality, resources, risk, and customer satisfaction. Balancing stakeholder requirements is not limited to the Collect Requirements Process, it goes beyond this. At a later stage in the project, it is identified that certain stakeholder requirements do not match those of the project or those of other stakeholders. In this situation, a conflict may arise between stakeholders. Thus, the project manager may need to balance the requirements against the interests of the project and resolve any conflicts.
Clear project objectives are a prerequisite for balancing stakeholder requirements. Another prerequisite is to identify and prioritize all the requirements from all of the stakeholders during Collect Requirements Process. If these prerequisites are not met, balancing stakeholder requirements is an impossible task.
Resolving Competing Requirements
Each department of the organization has their own interest in the project. For example, the risk team may slow down the pace of the project if they identify any risk and the operations team would have an interest of completing the project faster. Having an amicable solution for both departments is crucial. These issues are complex and an intervention from management is required to resolve them.