A planned requirements approach is essential to a successful and smooth-running project. Just like the project itself needs a project plan, the requirements process needs a requirements plan. This necessity has been recognized most recently in PMI’s 2014 Pulse of the Profession: Requirements Management – A Core Competency for Project and Program Success.
According to PMI, the Pulse report addresses “a shortage of meaningful research on how organizations perceive and approach [the requirements management] component of projects and programs.” Thus, in May 2014, PMI surveyed more than 2,000 practitioners in order to address 4 major points of concern regarding requirements management:
- Critical Resources
- Training and Support
- Processes and Good Practices
- What High-Performing Organizations Do Better
Below are some of the key points to take away from PMI’s Pulse of the Profession.
1. Poor Requirements Management is Costly.
Requirements management is important, but how important? According to the Pulse report, 47% of unsuccessful projects fail due to poor requirements management. Not only do these unsuccessful projects waste time, but they also waste money. According to the report, “For every dollar spent on projects and programs, 5.1 percent is wasted due to poor requirements management…this amounts to US $51 million wasted for every US $1 billion spent.”
That’s a lot of wasted resources. If we consider that “only one in five (20 percent) of organizations report high requirements management maturity,” we can see how important it is for the industry to hone in on requirements management and provide organizations and employees with the tools they need to succeed.
2. Resources, Developed Skills, and Formal Processes are Crucial for Successful Requirements Management.
According to the survey results, 51% of organizations report not having sufficient resources to successfully conduct requirements management. Meanwhile 34% of organizations report doing poorly—or nothing at all—in regards to developing the requirements management skills of their employees, and only 24% of organizations report training their employees very well in this area.
In contrast, the report shows that organizations “that recognize and develop the employee skills needed for effective requirements management, have significantly better project outcomes.” Nearly half of high performing organizations reported they were doing “extremely well” or “very well” in developing their employees’ requirements management skills, compared with only 15% of low performing organizations. Overall, the organizations that reported high performance revealed 3 major contributions to their success: (1) having the necessary resources, (2) recognizing and developing employee skills, and (3) having formal processes in place.
3. A Culture Embracing Requirements Management is Key.
Resources, training, and processes can only go so far if top management and executive sponsors fail to embrace requirements management. According to the results, project performance was significantly higher in organizations where top management and executive sponsors “fully value[d] requirements management as a critical competency.” Organizations where this requirements management “culture” was in place not only were more successful in meeting goals, but also the projects were more likely to be delivered on time and within budget.
How YOU can Improve Requirements Management
Keeping these 3 key points in mind can put your organization on the right track towards saving time and money on your projects. A great place to start is with proper training. Watermark Learning offers a number of resources for you and your employees that can help you improve your requirements management.
Our Practitioner’s Guide to Requirements Management provides realistic, step-by-step approach, and explains how to manage requirements without creating a mountain of paperwork.
We also offer a Planning and Managing Requirements Course that offers essential training in scope, planning, and developing an appropriately sized management plan for your requirements.