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Thursday, July 29, 2004

Good Requirements Management = Increased ROI

What of the biggest areas of concern in the IT Project Management field is Requirements Management.  It has been said that reducing requirements errors can have the biggest impact on delivering a quality software project on time and on budget.  How do you as a Project Manager help to reduce requirements errors while not slowing down project progress? 

Before we answer that question lets look at some industry statistics. 

According to the Standish Group (over 352 companies reporting on over 8000 projects):
  • 31% of all software projects are canceled before completion
  • 53% of all projects will cost 189% of the original estimate
  • 9% of projects are delivered on time and on budget (in large companies)
  • 16% of projects are delivered on time and on budget (in small companies)
The reasons given for the above are:
  • Lack of user input or participation - 12%
  • Incomplete Requirements and Specifications - 12.3%
  • Changing requirements and Specifications - 11.8%

To answer our question stated previously, what can a Project Manager do to reduce requirements errors? 

Try the following:

  • Structured  requirements gathering meetings
  • Walkthroughs and reviews of requirements with end users and customers
  • Better organization and documentation of requirements
  • Improved project progress reporting
  • Improved requirements-based testing and requirements tracability

If you will implement the above suggestions you can reduce requirements errors by 20% or more.  Any reduction in requirements errors will help to significantly reduce project cost and schedule overruns.

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