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Advances in Project Management: Who Needs Project Requirements?

SERIES ARTICLE

By Prof Darren Dalcher

Director, National Centre for Project Management

University of Hertfordshire

UK
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Introduction to the April 2014 Advances in PM Series Article

Projects typically arise in response to the needs, wants or wishes of an individual, group, organization or community. Project management endeavours to capture, analyse, prioritise, justify and transform these needs and wants into desired outputs and outcomes that deliver and deploy the required functionality, or performance, to the target community.

The conceptual steps that lead to the transformation from a concept or need into a more formal form of a systems requirements document are addressed through the processes of requirements management. Fittingly, the Sixth edition of the APM Body of Knowledge published by the UK’s Association for Project Management defines requirements management as “the process of capturing, assessing and justifying stakeholders’ wants and needs”.

Indeed, in any endeavor it is always a good idea to understand what needs to be built before embarking on the actual doing. This is especially true when the user is not the person building the system. Ultimately starting any major creative task without upfront negotiation and agreement is a risky undertaking. Furthermore, uncovering the requirements during construction, manufacturing or even post-release is likely to lead to escalating costs and drifting scope.

At the most elementary level project management is about satisfying the needs and expectations of the concerned stakeholder groups. Requirements management is concerned with understanding, formulating and documenting the perceived needs of stakeholders.  Yet, most projects involve multiple groups of stakeholders with varying levels of interest and sets of issues and concerns. To ensure the success of projects, the different sets of priorities, influences and concerns have to be elaborated, understood and contextualized in a systematic manner.

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Editor’s note: The PMWJ Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower in the UK.  Each month an introduction to the current article is provided by series editor Prof Darren Dalcher, who is also the editor of the Gower Advances in Project Management series of books on new and emerging concepts in PM.  Prof Dalcher’s article is an introduction to the invited paper this month in the PMWJ.  Information about the Gower series can be found at http://www.gowerpublishing.com/advancesinprojectmanagement.

About the Author

darren-dalcherflag-ukDarren Dalcher, PhD

Series Editor

Director, National Centre for Project Management

University of Hertfordshire, UK

Darren Dalcher, Ph.D. HonFAPM, FRSA, FBCS, CITP, FCMI is Professor of Project Management at the University of Hertfordshire, and founder and Director of the National Centre for Project Management (NCPM) in the UK.  He has been named by the Association for Project Management (APM) as one of the top 10 “movers and shapers” in project management in 2008 and was voted Project Magazine’s “Academic of the Year” for his contribution in “integrating and weaving academic work with practice”. Following industrial and consultancy experience in managing IT projects, Professor Dalcher gained his PhD in Software Engineering from King’s College, University of London.  Professor Dalcher has written over 150 papers and book chapters on project management and software engineering. He is Editor-in-Chief of Software Process Improvement and Practice, an international journal focusing on capability, maturity, growth and improvement. He is the editor of the book series, Advances in Project Management, published by Gower Publishing of a new companion series Fundamentals of Project Management.  Heavily involved in a variety of research projects and subjects, Professor Dalcher has built a reputation as leader and innovator in the areas of practice-based education and reflection in project management. He works with many major industrial and commercial organisations and government bodies in the UK and beyond.  He is an Honorary Fellow of the APM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts, and a Member of the Project Management Institute (PMI), the Academy of Management, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the Association for Computing Machinery. He is a Chartered IT Practitioner. He is a Member of the PMI Advisory Board responsible for the prestigious David I. Cleland project management award and of the APM Professional Development Board.  Prof Dalcher is an academic editorial advisor for the PM World Journal.  He can be contacted at [email protected].

To see other works by Prof Darren Dalcher, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/darren-dalcher/