Two Useful Additions to a Requirements Package

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When implementing a new solution within an organisation, communicating and gaining a common understanding of the requirements is crucial. One way of achieving this level of common understanding is to put together a requirements package. The content and style of that package may vary dramatically depending on the organisational context, the nature and size of the problem being solved, and whether the initiative is being delivered in a predictive (waterfall) or adaptive (agile/evolutionary) fashion. Either way, the requirements package is crucial as it helps communicate what the organisation needs.

 

The focus, quite rightly, when putting this together will be on capturing, analysing and validating the needs of the organisation’s stakeholders. The focus will be on articulating these requirements precisely and succinctly – and it is very tempting to focus purely on the requirements. Yet there are other useful items that we might choose to include that can help to remove ambiguity and create clarity.

 

In this article we’ll examine two other items that we might choose to include in our requirements package to help aid understanding. Both are relatively simple, but are easy to overlook:

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Avoiding the ‘Honeymoon Period’ When Procuring Solutions

Cartoon of shocked coupleProcuring solutions from third party vendors can be a beneficial way of implementing change without having to build a solution from scratch. When in need of a specific system or IT based solution, an organisation might investigate procuring an ‘off-the-shelf’ solution from a specialist vendor or managed service provider (MSP). When in need of a new capability, they may choose to outsource specific business processes to a trusted third party. Looking externally can help an organisation to avoid having to ‘re-invent the wheel’, and can enable them to utilise the expertise of teams that have implemented similar solutions many times before.

 

However, procurement of this type—particularly on large scale initiatives—can be tricky. It will often involve a formal vendor assessment phase where the client organisation will liaise with a range of potential suppliers and will assess which solution is a best fit for their needs. It is likely that they’ll run an Invitation to Tender (ITT) or a Request for Information (RFI) and Request for Proposal (RFP) process. Third party vendors will respond and will bid for the business, and the client will make their selection based on the vendors’ proposals.

 

This initial phase is normally run on a very tight timescale. The client is (understandably) keen to ‘hit the ground running, and they will quite rightly issue a tight deadline to the vendors. Each vendor will put together a team to assemble a proposal and pitch to the client and will be keen to ensure they are offering the right solution to the client, and will be keen to give the opportunity to showcase their solution’s features. The client will be keen to ensure that their requirements are understood, and each vendor will be keen to showcase the alignment of their solution to the client’s needs (as well as highlighting any unique selling points).

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