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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.

Requirements Management Plan

Requirements Management Plan is an output of Collect Requirements process. The plan answers the questions such as:

  • Which are the methods used to identify requirements?

  • What analysis is required for identified requirements? How will the requirements be prioritized?

  • How would the requirements be managed?

  • How would the requirements be tracked?

  • What is required out of the requirements traceability matrix?

Requirements Traceability Matrix In large projects, if the requirements are not documented well, there is the likelihood that they may be lost. Determining requirements can involve one requirement leading to more refined requirements and clarifications. This can make it difficult for the project manager and the project team to remember where the requirements came from. Objectives of the project may not be met if these reasons for requirements are missed. Requirements Traceability Matrix is another output of Collect Requirements Process. The matrix is used throughout the project in analyzing proposed changes to product or project scope. The matrix helps in linking requirements to the objectives and/or other requirements to ensure the strategic goals are accomplished.

Requirements Traceability Matrix

Example Apart from the shown example, the project manager needs to record:

  • Requirements identification number

  • Source of each requirement Owner of each requirement

  • Status of each requirement

PMBoK guide suggests documenting the above in the requirements traceability matrix. However, for large projects, it will be a cumbersome activity and it would be difficult to use as well. It is advisable to make this data available in another repository, thus ensuring that this matrix becomes easy to use.

Define Scope

The product and project scope are determined using inputs from the requirements document (created in Collect Requirements Process), project charter, additional information about project risks, assumptions, constraints, among others. This process is concerned with what is included and is not included in the project and its deliverables. Project planning is not a one-time process. A project cannot be planned right at the start and kept as it is. Planning is an iterative process.

Project Manager continues to follow the Project Management Planning process when the requirements have been determined. This information is used to identify the schedule and the budget. This schedule and budget may meet the expectations of the management or sponsor. If they don’t, the project manager needs to review all the constraints of the project and needs to maintain the equilibrium of the requirements (scope) against the budget and schedule. The project manager needs to create options for meeting the scope, time, and cost objectives of the project and help management make a decision. Compressing the schedule, identifying alternative ways to perform work on the project, or adjusting the budget or the scope are some of the tasks to be completed by the project manager while creating these options. A realistic schedule and budget that can achieve a project’s scope is the result of this exercise.

Product Analysis

Analysis of the objectives and description of the product as stated by the customer and the sponsor is the purpose of Product Analysis. The output of this analysis is the identification of tangible deliverables.

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