Gathering requirements is a fundamental part of any digital change project. If not carried out correctly and comprehensively, you may find later down the line that the technology or systems you have implemented, may not do what you really need them to do.
To avoid this risk and to give it the attention it deserves, in this article we will share a beginners guide to requirements gathering and share some key considerations for this important part of a digital change project.
What is requirements gathering?
Every organisation is unique and will therefore have differing and varying needs when it comes to new technology. Therefore, it is important to understand what you are building and why you are building it. At its core this is what requirements gathering aims to achieve.
In practical terms, the process of gathering requirements involves a series of workshops with teams and departments across your organisation to uncover what the real needs are. The information gathered in these workshops can then be collated in an Invitation to Tender document. This document is shared with potential technology vendors, so they can better understand what you are aiming to achieve and need.
Where do you start?
When beginning the requirements gathering exercise it is important to first consider who will be a part of the process. It’s essential to have the breath of your organisation represented, to ensure no key requirements are missed and you gather the full picture across your whole organisation.
At this point, it is also worth considering carrying out a Business Process Review (BPR) to help you form a baseline and understanding of the current processes you have in place. A key benefit of carrying out a BPR at this stage is to ensure you do not bring any inefficient and or ineffective processes into a new technology or system.
Once you have carried out the workshops and begin to collate the requirements requested by teams, you may find you have cross overs across departments. This is completely normal and expected so it’s essential to deduplicate your list, so you get a single cohesive list of requirements from across the whole organisation.
In addition, ideally you want to see staff members beginning to ‘take ownership’ and feel involved in the process. This is essential to help bring people on board with the project as ultimately the project should be done with people and not at people, to help achieve buy-in and ultimately success.
Following the collation of requirements, the next stage is to prioritise them. The requirements you have gathered will be varied and people will have different views on what should be considered a priority. To agree what the essential needs are, the benefits and objectives of the project need to remain as the focus and to continue to be referred to in order to identify the priorities.