Implementing a solution based solely on requirements doesn’t guarantee success.
What if the requirements don’t exactly detail the issues the client was having? Or what if the interpretation doesn’t quite agree with the clients users?
Even if you have the requirements completed it won’t always solve the real life problem the project was defined to resolve. Anyone with any experience in requirements gathering will know it is very difficult, if not impossible, to do the job with 100% accuracy. There are always competing interests and competing viewpoints, different needs and contrasting opinions on how the problem should be solved. But…
It’s About Achieving Results
Put simply it is all about ‘benefits’. If the new IT system is not bringing its users cold hard measurable benefits, then it isn’t a success. It can be shiny and new, it can meet all documented requirements, it can even be under budget. But if users don’t see the benefit it is a failure.
A benefit is an improvement to a user or users of the new system. A benefit must be measurable, both before and after the new system is implemented. A benefit is not “the system will be fast”. That really is not a benefit. Benefits can be gathered as the very first act of a new project, from a wide range of users. The project board and sponsors will have a view on benefits, as will managers, admins and end users. Just like requirements, not all will be valid, but all should be discussed.
The results that improve the objectives of the company and the end users are what must be achieved to be considered successful. Results must be
Benefits Must be Measurable
How can you say a benefit has been achieved if there is no measure in place to prove it? Analytics can help with many benefits System speed, storage, number of errors or user stats can all be used. For more intangible benefits, user surveys can be conducted. A well designed survey can provide measures before and after almost any aspect of a system.
In effect our IT projects now must become a process of “benefits realization”.
Tell us how you have been able to realize the benefits in your past projects and how you have put in place measurements of those benefits to insure your management can analyse the benefits from your project.
The Final Goal
The final goal is to insure that you have gathered all of the requirements and identified a path to analyse the benefits to the users and more importantly to the overall organization and that it meets the goals of the management team. Always insure that the measurable benefits allow a path to identify a new and better way forward in the future.