Writing Better Requirements: Why Projects Fail

Write Better Requirements
Write Better Requirements

Why Do We Need Better Requirements?

The following article is a frank, open and surprising discourse on why we need better requirements.

According to Standish or Gartner reports and other case studies, nearly “two-thirds of all IT projects fail” because of poor requirements and other causes.

Why Do Projects Fail?

Consider that a project fails when it overruns the budgeted allocation of resources, time or money or fails to deliver the intended business requirements or value.

Some teams are so deep into this, that throwing more money, people or extending the shipping date is their default solution to scope creep, budget overruns or project failure!

Business Analysts Don’t Really “Gather” Requirements

Gathering Requirements
Gathering Requirements

It is common knowledge that the biggest reason for IT project failure is poor requirements. If the requirements that the developers are working from are wrong, incomplete or otherwise inadequate, that project is doomed to join the 70% of IT projects that fail every year.

So why not simply gather good (SMART) requirements? Ask any business analyst and they will tell you that the biggest problem they face is getting users to tell them what they really want out of a new system or process. Why? The reasons are varied. Sometimes it appears that users simply won’t communicate what they really want. Sometimes it appears that the business analyst is asking all the wrong questions. Sometimes it appears that the users change their minds all the time.