Gathering Requirements – If it can’t be measured; it can’t be a requirement
Provided by: Michelle Swann, Vice President, PSG
One task that project managers face is gathering requirements. The
requirements phase is essential in determining the success of the
project because this phase defines the tasks that will be completed. Too
many times, project managers include vague or immeasurable requirements
in their document. One easy rule of thumb to follow is that “if it can’t
be measured; it can’t be a requirement”. If the project team cannot
measure the requirement, it is subjective and the definition of
completion can be a moving target.
For example, a user can insist that a data entry
form be “user friendly”. This cannot be a requirement because there is
no way to measure it. The project manager needs to interview the
potential users to come up with a measurable definition of “user
friendly”. The user can decide that this means that all tasks on the
form require no more than three steps or that all tasks can be completed
without using the mouse. These requirements can be measured and tested
and should be included.
Including only measurable requirements will help to
avoid changing interpretations and assist in ensuring that the project
team and the end users have the same expectations.
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