A Guide to Writing an Effective Requirements Management Plan

More than 80% of project managers and team leaders believe that process requirements don’t articulate the needs of the business. This can lead to a higher project failure rate. The solution? Learn how to create a requirements management plan that aligns business and project values that your entire team can get behind. 

In this post, we’ll define what requirements management is (and isn’t). Then, we’ll cover some tips for creating an ideal process, how to track and monitor it once it’s live, and how Wrike’s project management solution can supercharge your own successful requirements management plan

What is requirements management?

Requirements management is a list of policies and tasks that must be adhered to or completed throughout an entire project. These policies and tasks are dictated by the overall needs of the business, the solution for the problem your project attempts to solve, and the expectations of key stakeholders when starting a new project.  

While it does not include every project step, it does cover all the information coming in from relevant outside sources and will heavily influence how you plan the rest of the project.  A requirements management plan collects all of this information into one organized place. It also solves potential requirements conflicts between sources and acts as a guideline for project planning

Tips for creating the ideal requirements management process

Here are some basic, yet highly effective, tips for creating the ideal requirements management process needed to align objectives with action: 

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Keep all requirements management details in a single, accessible space where all contributors can view, edit, and comment. 
  2. Stay flexible. Business goals may change, client needs might evolve, and stakeholders can pivot to new strategies overnight. Make sure your requirements management process is malleable. Create one or more fail-safe plans for issues you anticipate. 
  3. Connect action to a purpose. Make sure that every item on your requirements management plan includes information on who authorized it, why it’s important, and what its completion status is in real-time. 

Requirements tracking and monitoring

A requirements management plan needs constant evaluation. Keep track of any change requests, delayed tasks, or active policies at every phase of the project. The best way to do this is by establishing a personal check-in system for yourself and your team. 

First, review your requirements management plan at least once a week after it’s first created. Then, schedule periodic check-in meetings throughout the project lifespan with key decision-makers who contributed to it. 

Next, decide which KPIs you’ll use for individual tasks and policies. Add these to your shared plan and assign specific team members to approve or deny the measurements so that you’re all on the same page regarding expectations. 

Finally, set a priority for each of your requirements so that team members are empowered to make informed decisions on the fly when conflicts come up. 

How to manage requirements in the middle of a project

Mitigate the risk of scope creep by coming up with a contingency plan for how you’ll manage requirements in the middle of a project. Set up an approval process with your team leads to accept or deny new requirements as they come in after the start of a project. Use project management software to reassign workloads, forecast possible roadblocks, or adjust timelines whenever necessary. 

How to ensure requirements have been met:

Ensure requirements have been met with this simple checklist that will help give you a comprehensive look at what went right (or wrong): 

  • Hold a formal review meeting to go over the requirements management plan with decision-makers at every key milestone
  • Poll or interview decision-makers and project teams separately to gauge their perception of the plan’s success. 
  • Ask teams for honest feedback on process improvements moving forward. 
  • Review which requirements tasks were completed to see if they were done on time and within the given parameters (such as a budget). 
  • Go over policies with team leads to get their insight on which were followed, which were not, and why some worked better than others for their unique group. 

How Wrike helps with requirements management

As we’ve seen throughout this guide, project management is the key to writing an effective requirements management plan. Wrike assists with all of the above tips and suggested steps for any stage of the requirements management process

Here are some highlights of how Wrike can help set your plan up for success: 

  • Use a waterfall process or an Agile framework. 
    Turn a complex set of requirements into an organized plan of action through task assignments, collaborative notes, file sharing. Choose a top-down process or set up a flexible Agile system to handle all the moving parts. 
  • Set priorities for each requirement. 
    Not only will this allow team members to make decisions about conflicting requirements, but it will also create an order of operations for tasks. 
  • Send instant updates to decision-makers. 
    Task dependencies automatically notify selected team members about the next steps (such as approvals) for a more streamlined communication system. 
  • Monitor progress, KPIs, and more in real-time. 
    Wrike’s illustrative timelines, graphs, charts, and other visualizations help users check in on requirements goals throughout every phase of the project. 
  • Directly loop in key stakeholders using @ mentions. 
    Quickly catch up key stakeholders on important discussions and developments by adding them to conversations right within Wrike. This helps save time you normally would spend going over details from email chains they weren’t part of. 

Bring in corporate leaders to verify the connection between big picture business goals and individual projects. Go out of your way to ask questions and solicit feedback from decision-makers early on to eliminate costly changes down the road. 

Create a requirements management plan that exceeds expectations

Requirements management plans collect, organize, and track the policies and tasks assigned to a project by key decision-makers. To ensure your requirements management plan is successful, set up tracking and monitoring systems that allow you to evaluate progress at every stage of the project. 

Check out Wrike’s two-week free trial to see how effective our project management tool is at helping you create and maintain a requirements management plan worth investing in. 

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