Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 1

Tricks of the Trade for

Determining Customer Requirements by Rita Mulcahy, PMP

Tricks of the Trade

Acquiring complete requirements is one of the most difficult and most important things to
achieve on a project. Customers have a tendency to not spend enough time, to not talk to all the
right people, or to not get final approval on requirements.

Complete requirements means there will be:

Fewer changes
Improved quality
Less need for meetings
Less conflict

Here are some things you can do to make this less of a problem:
Set the stage early. The trick to more complete customer requirements is to realize that
the customer creates requirements before you may be aware the project exists. Customers
have a tendency to try to describe what they want you to do, instead of what they need. Get
involved early in the project, before they have gotten too far into determining what they
want you to do. Help them refocus on determining their needs.
Define requirements into needs, wants, and would-likes. Defining the requirements into
categories helps improve communications and understanding. It also makes it easier to
make trade-offs and changes later in the project.
Picture the projects results. Ask the customer, When this project is completed, how will
you know it is successful? What do you envision having? When you know more about what
they expect the results of the project to be, you can better determine how to proceed and if
there is anything that needs to be added to the project.
Tell customers the consequences. Give customers specific examples of what will happen if
requirements are unclear or incomplete. One of my students showed the following humorous
comment from our course to a customer to inform the customer just how troublesome the
requirements definition phase of the project is:

The Word Count Metric

Count the number of words the customer has used to describe his or her needs. If
more than 3,000, add 5 percent to the estimate; if fewer than 300, add 50 percent!

When the issue of unclear or incomplete requirements is allowed to be

discussed openly, huge improvements can be made. Good luck!

PMP and the PMI REP Logo are marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. RMC Project management has been reviewed and approved as a provider
of project management training by the Project Management Institute (PMI). As a PMI Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.), RMC Project Management has
agreed to abide by PMI-established quality assurance criteria.
Copyright 2006 by Rita Mulcahy, PMP. All rights reserved.
RMC Project Management, Inc. 500 East Travelers Trail, Suite 100 Minneapolis, Minnesota 55337
info@rmcproject.com www.rmcproject.com (952) 846-4484
The copyright owner hereby grants permission to make copies of this handout for personal, noncommercial use only.

Centres d'intérêt liés