A requirements workshop provides a recipe for project success.

It can help get your project delivered on time and budget.

A requirements workshop also helps you get the outcomes you want from the project clearly articulated and communicated.

Whether you are about to complete a new website project, software implementation or a capability building program – getting clear on the outcomes you want is key.

Your requirements provide the detail on how you will achieve success.

So, its probably no surprise that poor requirements have been identified as a key cause of project failure, causing:

  • Increased costs
  • Scope creep
  • Team / supplier conflict, and
  • Delays in delivery.

What are project requirements?

Requirements are the necessary detail that describe what the end-product must contain to make the project a success.

A requirements workshop is essentially a discovery workshop. It brings the key people together to ideate and define project objectives, requirements and outcomes.

Why requirement gathering is an essential exercise?

Here’s some examples that will illustrate the importance of requirement gathering.

Website Design Project: you hire a website designer to build a new website, the creation of online forms so that customers can get in touch from key places on the website are not defined in the requirements. This leads to the web designer asking for for additional budget, and an increase in the time to delivery.

Platform implementation: you have identified that you want to move membership platforms, and talked to other not for profit organisations with similar needs, and decide to simply go with what they are using. You start the project, halfway through migrating contact lists and data you realise that you are missing a key feature that will simply make it unworkable for your organisation. The solutions are to: choose another product (and start again), pay for a higher package price ongoing (long term cost increase), or get a custom feature developed (short term, high cost). All will cost you time.

Requirements gathering is an essential discovery process, at the start of the project that will help you create a good project brief, and get accurate quotes.

Requirements are the holy grail of any initiative because they define the future” – Lean / Agile Business Analysis

Not sure what the requirements should be?

You are not alone.

Many people don’t know how powerful and important it is to have a list of requirements.

Words like: ‘scope’, ‘deliverables’ and ‘requirements’ come from project management text books.

So, unless this is the work you do on a day to day basis, it will all sound like jargon to you (for good reason).

Here’s the key take home: they are an important part of the ‘project scope’ which is how you define what’s needed to get the outcomes you want. The scope is also what quotes are often based on, so if your requirements aren’t clearly articulated, you may expect a 4wd ute and get a hatchback. They are both a ‘car’ with four wheels, and the ability to do over 100km/hr.

A clearly defined vision for the project, and set of the requirements is like a recipe. Ever tried baking a cake without one?

How did it go? Was it going to be a chocolate cake, a triple-layered vanilla cake with lemon curd and vanilla bean frosting? What did you end up with?

How a requirements workshop can help

Getting your requirements defined happens at the start of any project, in the project initiation phase.

We ran a requirements workshop as part of the project initiation phase for a client recently, and it changed the approach to the project as a whole. They were able to reduce the risk of the project and get the ball rolling quicker, thanks to a clearer focus on what they wanted and how they would get there.

A requirement gathering workshop can do any of the below:

  • Brings together stakeholders and the project team. If you just start listing things yourself, you increase the risk of issues down the track by missing something crucial.
  • Allows you to create a shared vision for what success looks like.
  • Creates an understanding of key items like project length, complexity, risks, etc.
  • Discovers hidden gems you may have otherwise missed and will ultimately make the project more successful.
  • Can streamline the approval process and increase manager and / or stakeholder buy-in.

Benefits of a requirements gathering exercise

Here’s a simple summary of the benefits:

  • Reduce project costs
  • Increase project success rate
  • Improve stakeholder satisfaction and (where needed) Manager buy-in
  • Improves ongoing communication
  • Prioritise requirements for reduce costs / to meet budget.

How to run a requirements gathering workshop

A requirements gathering workshop is a brainstorming session.

It can be run face to face (sharpies and paper, sticky notes and a white board are key tools!).

Or, it can be run online using brainstorming and collaboration platforms, such as:

The complexity of a requirements gathering exercise aligns with the size and complexity of the project.

Need help putting together your project requirements?

We can:

  • Facilitate a requirements gathering or discovery workshop
  • Write your project brief
  • Help get you in touch with consultants and platforms that align with the outcomes you want.