Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Requirements for Dummies

I have to admit that project management and requirements gathering are both fairly miserable experiences for me. Unfortunately, they are an essential part of technology work, particularly software and web development. What is it that is so frustrating?

With project management, I find it difficult to continually lead a process that I am not heavily contributing to. In other words, demanding results from employees, or worse yet, contractors, who are performing work that I am incapable of doing, yet being responsible for the project's timeliness. Mind you, I am fully aware that this is Management 101 and as common as work itself. I just find it more challenging than most.

I actually dislike gathering requirements more. I'm confident that the primary reason is I'm inexperienced at doing it right, but I have to say, I've yet to see it done successfully, even by those who know what they're doing. My primary frustration here is the same pattern is seen at the end of each project:

1. Some % of requirements were met perfectly
2. Some % of requirements were misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly
3. Some % of requirements were missed in the original scope
4. Nobody cares about #1
5. Customer will remain unsatisfied until #2 and #3 are fixed, not as part of an ongoing development process, but as a continuation of a failed project

How do you work diligently to improve something that is inherently inadequate?