Roadmap & Strategy

Business Engagement: Co-Discovery, Not Requirements

In Chapter 6 of Collaboration Roadmap (2011) I write about engaging the business, and say that the idea of “capturing requirements” is wrong. Instead, I encourage a mindset and approach of “co-discovering opportunities.” With that in mind, I was very pleased to read this on Andrew’s blog a week or so ago:

When I’m brought in to work on a significant development project as the lead, the first step is to sit down with the client and understand not just the requirements, but the goals behind the requirements and how the work they’re asking for will impact the people using system. My job, at this stage is to use my experience to anticipate the unseen requirements, the potential problems, and the unintended consequences of the changes they’re requesting. I do this through asking questions and getting them to walk me through both the current process and the updated process. If we have the right people in the room — not just the project managers but also representatives of people who use the systems daily — then during this phase they realize how the real world use differs from the project plan paperwork. We’re able to adapt the plan and build what they need. Spending the right money up front on this kind of analysis prevents the kinds of disasters Cringley is pointing out.

Love that approach. Keep it up Andrew.

Categories: Roadmap & Strategy