Requirements gathering prior to any project is both the most significant and most overlooked phase I often see. It’s the foundation of your entire project and it will determine every necessary piece of your project work and timeframes.
In the world of ITSM systems, the ITSM Admin gets a problem they need to solve, and then is responsible for finding a solution. The biggest mistake we see when finding a solution is that the admin just plans out what they think is the correct solution and goes for it. This leads to gaps between the solution and what the actual needs are. Sometimes these are minor gaps that require maybe an extra hour or two of work, but most of the time, they are huge gaps that require a lot of re-work, causing risks with staffing availability, budget, and deadlines.
Here are some best practices to reduce these risks and properly gather requirements:
Interview- Interview the stakeholders of the project. Have them explain the issue they are trying to solve, and the must haves.
Brainstorming- Identify the process. Hold brainstorming/mapping sessions, where you and the stakeholders can talk about the details and map out the process. The point of this is to just get the process down as if it was a perfect world and you had no tool/development constraints.
Solution- Digest all the data from brainstorming. Refine that process to make sure the process can be developed in the tool and document any alternatives you can offer for anything that the tool can’t accommodate. Present these alternatives to the stakeholders so they can choose what would fit their needs best.
Documentation and sign off- Document your plan and have the stakeholders sign off.
Be agile- always allow room for minor changes. Since the big stuff is all mapped out, there shouldn’t be any huge changes, but rather be safe than sorry.
While this may seem like a lot of work, it will save you so much more time during the project work phase. When this phase is overlooked, or done poorly, it can cause delays in the project as well as loss of time and money.