The unexpected benefits of requirements analysis
- Dave Coriale
- July 14, 2014
You may already know that a technology project is more likely to meet, or even exceed, expectations if you start with a requirements analysis. During this critical phase of a project, the requirements for your new system or application are collected, analyzed, and documented.
But, did you know that requirements analysis (RA) also has a positive impact on an association’s culture, operations, and staff? We’ve learned from the hundreds of technology projects we’ve managed that the discussions and decisions made during RA are often as valuable as the solution selected.
Lay the foundation for progress
The project team spends hours discussing existing technology and organizational goals, culture, and operations during RA. These conversations often reveal opportunities to streamline, automate, or improve existing business rules and processes.
When colleagues see the positive impact of these project-related changes, they become less resistant to examining and improving other processes.
For example, prior to implementing a learning management system, many associations restructure their education department’s business processes. After completing that project, an association might turn its attention first to improving related content management processes and then to content workflow processes for their website and digital media.
Once struck, the improvement spark is difficult to snuff out.
Discover new opportunities for increasing productivity and member value
During RA, the positive side of the project balance sheet is revealed. Besides new opportunities for improving productivity, the discussions surrounding requirements can also lead to decisions that positively impact the member experience.
For example, while discussing integration requirements for a new enterprise system, the team realizes they have data in various systems that can be integrated in a way that provides members with new insights about the value of their membership and the organization’s efforts. The integration requirements discussion was the forum and the catalyst that lead the team to realize this potential value proposition.
Encourage collaboration and shared vision
Staff representing different departments show up for requirements meetings with their own agendas. But then they learn about and begin to understand the goals, needs, and challenges of colleagues in other departments. These discovery sessions offer opportunities for discussion that normally don’t exist in their usual work routines.
RA provides an opportunity for staff to think strategically about the bigger picture – how the new system or business process will help the organization meet its strategic goals. A shared vision for the project replaces their original, department-focused perspective. This new collaborative spirit helps to crumble silos.
An association’s potential is unleashed during a successful technology implementation when the project team sets aside departmental agendas and works together for the greater good of the project. This potential can be tapped again and again to make further improvements to association operations or to create new membership value. It’s just one side effect of good requirements analysis!
Flickr photo by Robert Müller