Preliminary Requirements Phase

To obtain high level requirements for the proposed solution
Hold Kick Off Meetings Identify Functional Requirements Identify Data Requirements
Identify Business Process Requirements Produce Intermediate Scope Identify Major Impacts Identify Deal Breaker
Identify Potential Solutions Produce Preliminary Requirements Report Plan for Market Review Phase Market Review Gate



Ongoing Project Management
  • High Level Scope
  • Phase Zero Report
  • Preliminary Business Case and Project Execution Plan
  • Preliminary Requirements Report
    • Functional Decomposition
    • Data Model
    • Business Process Model
    • Impact Assessment
  • Plan for Market Review
It will require considerable discipline to restrict the time spent on this phase. There is often the tendency to drill too deeply into the requirements. For a mid sized project, each of the requirements (functional, data and business processes) should not take more than a day. The whole phase for a mid sized project should take around two weeks.
  • Project Manager
  • Sponsor
  • Business Analyst
  • Business Representatives
  • Technical Experts (where required)

The first question to ask when deciding what should happen in this phase, is how much you are prepared to change your processes to suit the software. If you are rigid in doing business in a certain way, the level of detail you will require is much more detailed than if you are flexible about how you operate.

Part of this question also relates to whether this is new functionality, or is to replace existing functionality. For example if you are replacing a current system which you have refined to operate just the way you want it to operate, you probably want to replicate the process. In this case you need to document exactly how it works. On the other hand, if you are expanding your business into a new area, and want a system to manage the new business, your requirement are likely to be more open. Less effort should be taken to define requirements.

Purchasing a new system is also a chance to incorporate experiences gained by the Vendor in many similar companies. If you are looking to take on board those "best practices", requirements can be less detailed.

In summary, the work required will depend on how closely you want the solution to match existing functionality, data and business processes. If you want a tight fit, do more detailed requirements. If you want a loose fit, do broader requirements.

If existing material relating to functional or data requirements exists, this can be used as a starting point. If not, you need to identify what you currently use and wish to retain, and what you want additionally. The likely impacts of a new system need to be identified so that the implications can be built into the plan and cost.

The high level scope is updated to the intermediate scope. The final report is going to be the basis for your market review.

Schedule Gantt Chart A draft Microsoft Project plan for the phase. It lists activities and elapsed timeframes. Times are very approximate and may be significantly shorter or longer.
Reducing time spent on Requirements White paper on how to spend less time on gathering requirements.
Facilitation User Guide In this phase there will be a number of workshops. This is a guide as to how you can facilitate a workshop.

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