Maturing Requirements

As the IT industry matures, so do the various aspects of it.  Requirements management is no exception to that maturation process.  Requirements management has been part of the Capability Maturity Model (CMM or CMMI) since its creation in the late 1980s, and more recently you can find various attempts at defining a requirements maturity model.

So what does it really mean to mature the requirements process?  At the most basic level, it is getting requirements written down and managed.  I know that may sound simple and almost too basic, but think about it…how many times have you experienced the scenario where the business has a brief conversation with development…and development takes it from there.  Especially with functionality that is “well known”.  “Everyone knows how an online cart & check out process should work…just build it!”  But we all know it’s never that simple.  The business will not get what they want.  There is a need to do better than just getting things written down, but that is certainly a start.

A very basic model of maturity looks like:

Level 1 – Realizing Requirements Matter

  • The baseline for the model, where organization start to write requirements down and understand the value of the business analyst role.

Level 2 – Getting Organized

  • At level 2, organizations put a framework in place for requirements.  This includes documenting requirements processes, having standard templates for requirements documents, and defining what skills business analysts should have and obtaining training for those skills.  It can also spark an interest in a requirements anagement toolset, which will dramatically ease the requirements management process.

Level 3 – Working with the Business

  • Now that the organization has a framework in place, it’s time to work with the business to make sure that projects are aligned with the business goals and objectives.  There is a centralization of practices from across the organization, which is beneficial to ensure that common practices and processes are deployed and institutionalized.

Level 4 – Constant Improvement

  • As with any maturity model, this is the optimization of processes and practices to streamline and use the framework that has been put in place as a competitive advantage for the company.

There is definitely a lot of great information about various requirements maturity models out there, and I encourage you to research this topic more and see what you can implement at your organization.