This article talks about how hiring external consultants can save your business from making costly mistakes. It is a guide for business owners who are looking to build a SaaS product for their business, a marketing head who is looking to outsource development and needs to collect information in the right way from his company, or a development company which is looking for right ways to analyse customer project requirements. If customer requirements are accurately identified in the early stages of software development, it can solve the biggest problem for your business.
Consulting can help eliminate the gap between business challenges, technical requirements and end customer experience, which is a huge step in building a successful product. With a well-defined scope, you can avoid scope revisions that can potentially derail your project. Let us look at some techniques by which consultants help clients achieve their business goals by proper requirement gathering.
Interview is conducted for requirement gathering. In this method, the business analyst talks to company employees at various roles such as directors or owners to understand the goals and objectives, operations head to understand the business processing, sales team to understand the sales process and marketing team to understand the marketing goals.
Survey is another effective method to collect information and requirements within a short frame of time. Under this technique, it is advisable to first ascertain the goal of the survey and thereafter draft the questionnaire. Once the questions list is ready, it is delivered to stakeholders.
Once all the base requirements are collected, it is time to discuss it with the stakeholders to find out solutions to complex issues.
- Joint Application Method
In this technique, all the stakeholders like developers, end users, SMEs, business analysts and software engineers come together to work on a system in greater detail till the desired goal is accomplished.
To decide which of the above techniques to use, there are a few factors that need to be considered – Availability and location of the stakeholders, Client and development team’s knowledge on the problem, Client and development team’s knowledge of the development process and methods to resolve the same.
Requirement gathering for project management
Gathering and managing requirements is a challenge in effective project management. It can be a matter of success or failure for projects, if requirement gathering is ineffective and this can happen even if the project is midway. Web projects have a baseline that is continuously evolving throughout the timeline of the project which needs careful and effectual management. Project manager needs to duly assess and understand the novelty value of the requirement gathering process of individual project. Requirement risks are one of the biggest risks that threaten IT projects. Having unclear requirements, lack of client involvement in the process or faulty requirements; all these become the major culprits in failed projects. Project teams can make a lot of difference by adopting and executing agile working practices.
Collecting business requirements is a critical step for any kind of project. Creating complete set of requirements at a preliminary stage can facilitates in better planning, precise cost estimates, shorter delivery timeline, enhanced client satisfaction and better response to the final product. Eliminating the gap between business and technical requirements is the responsibility of business analysts as they need to understand the business needs in the full context and align the same with the business objectives while communicating the same to the development team as well as other company stakeholders.
Let’s discuss some of the challenges that can affect requirements gathering process and discuss the potential approaches used by consultants to deal with them.
- Lack of Clarity in Defining Criteria for Success
Stakeholders have a clear idea about the problems they are facing or exploring a particular opportunity. However, often they are clueless about exactly what they are looking to achieve. In order to address this concern, a consultant breaks the project into small bits and starts from the section where the client has the most clarity. There are collaborative modelling tools which allow the clients to have a high level vision of the end result which makes getting feedback early in the process simple. Consultants also ask questions to the client and identify current business practices and pain points which can be improved.
- Organizations Change their Minds Often
When the requirements are not clearly defined and evolved over the course of the project, changes are bound to happen. Consultants tackle it by being adaptable and accepting the changes. They also prioritise the changes and communicate the new time and budget allocations to the client before modifications are taken care of.
- Lack of Communication between parties
Active communication and participation by organization stakeholders is critical to the success of the requirement gathering process. Consultants establish a rapport and trust with clients so that the clients provide honest and open inputs.
After requirements are gathered and analysed, the consultant prepares a SRS document having the following:
Objectives & Constraints
In scope items
Functional and data Description
Architecture context diagram (ACD)
System module narrative
Team members by skill type
It is important for organisations to engage external consultants who follow a systematic approach mentioned above to help the clients achieve business goals. We at Acropolis can be your trusted consultants and provide the best advice on how to leverage technology to meet your business goals. Contact us right now to have our technology experts at your service, who provide quality solutions at affordable rates! Our services are available to businesses anywhere in the world! We cater to clients from US, UK, Australia, Germany, France and many more countries!