February 20

How to Improve Project Requirements and Quality

2=Planning, 4=Control

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Is there a way to improve both project requirements and quality at the same time? Allow me to begin this discussion with an illustration.

picture of requirements notebook

I recently needed a television mounted on the wall of my office. A fairly simple requirement, right?

I told the handyman that I wanted the television to be head high. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the room and saw that the television had been installed a foot higher than I expected. The handyman did what I asked him to do but he used his head height, not mine. He was like the Jolly Green Giant – 6 foot 7 inches tall; I was 5 foot 6 inches tall.

Improve Project Requirements and Quality

Quality management is highly dependent on the clarity of the project requirements.  Why?

Quality is the degree to which a project meets the requirements. This definition assumes that the requirements are defined and that there are varying degrees to which the requirements may be met.

If the truth were told, many projects lack SMART requirements: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timebound. They’re vague, and there are little to no standards by which to judge whether the requirement has been implemented properly. Furthermore, stakeholders may not be engaged adequately in the requirements process.

Ill-defined requirements — like “install the TV head high” — make it difficult, if not impossible, for designers, developers, and testers to do their jobs. When defining requirements, define the fit criteria: “a quantification of the requirement that demonstrates the standard the product must reach.” For example, I could have specified the precise vertical and horizontal location for the television. With this, we would have had a way to measure whether the requirement was met (and avoid the rework, time, and extra expense).

Additional Requirements and Quality Management Articles

Want to know more about project requirements and quality management? Check out these additional articles:

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