The Open Source Project Management Community

#PMChat Recap for September 16th

What another great week for #PMChat! Rob and I have been very impressed with the discussions that are going on both during the session and outside of the 1 hour as well. Folks are helping each other with potential book titles, talking about research they are doing and so much more. As we know, there are other #’s to follow but many of them have shifted to 1-way sharing and RT’ing. With continued support and commitment to a collaborative environment, we know this community can be a true value-add to your day.

This week, #PMChat talked about Gathering Requirements and if you missed it, you can go over to the #PMChat Pre-Game Show tab and listen to our guest Helen Rittersporn discuss the topic.  Without further delay, lets get into the recap from this past Friday’s discussion on Gathering Requirements.  Remember, this is only an excerpt of the #PMChat, some great conversation went on beyond this…


Q1: What is your preferred method of requirements gathering? Brainstorming, Workshops, Interviews, etc?

@SteveCarterNC: A1: I try to vary my approach based on project size and complexity, but do love having stakeholders in a room. #pmchat

@klkaz: @null #pmchat A1. prefer combination of interviews with workshops, interspersed through requirements phase

@sewah_kram: @null A1 If time permits, I prefer a combination of brainstorming, workshops and one-on-one interviews… gather many perspectives! #PMChat

@publicsectorpm: A1: small group of end users, lots of post it notes, a big wall… and some chocolates for motivation #pmchat

@DennisHull: A1: Prefer to start with conversations & questions…a bit less formal than interviewing. #PMChat

@jasonshaffner: #pmchat A1. Method of reqs elictaiton depends on the business area, customer style, etc. But I usually need a whiteboard.

@ColleenGarton: A1: Brainstorming, workshops with food bribes plus some one on one interviews #PMCHAT

@raelogan and @publicsectorpm echoed a #PMChat favorite….work chocolate into the process somewhere!

@SteveCarterNC: A1: Regardless of forum, one key for me is making sure to capture the who and why for each requirement…traceability. #pmchat

@michael_greer: #PMChat I sometimes like to include structured observations of people using similar products or struggling with that which needs fixed.

@jasonshaffner: #pmchat Via job shadowing you see a lot of things SMEs take as given, dont think to mention in wrkshops #PMChat

@UnlikeBefore and @klkaz agreed…. #pmchat A1: also find that I need to complete a stakeholder analysis before knowing who to include in which workshops, etc.

Everyone agreed with @michael_greer  #PMChat A good question to ask self: “Who’s gonna raise hell & wreck this project?” Then face them now & bake into requirements.


Q2: What are common mistakes new PMs make when gathering requirements?

 @PamStanton: A2: A common mistake in gathering reqs is not setting expectations that they all aren’t “approved” yet #PMChat

@sewah_kram: @null A2. Forget to listen #pmchat

@SteveCarterNC: A2: Not knowing how to prioritize and distinguish real requirements from wish list items. #pmchat

@michael_greer: #PMChat Most common mistake I made as newbie #ftpm gathering req’mts: Avoiding people whom I knew would give me difficult/troubling input

@UnlikeBefore: #PMchat A2: Regurgitate old rqmts as new ones. Afraid to ask questions or enough questions. Intimidated by others.

@publicsectorpm: A2: being too exhaustive with requirements up front… not having enough flexibility down the line to respond to change #pmchat

@robprinzo: A2. A common mistake is not identifying the interdepdency between the requirements #PMChat

@HELENSStudio: A2: don’t be afraid to take on the ‘big’ rock type reqs that will solve so many recurring requirements issues #PMChat

@jasonshaffner: #PMChat A2: A common pitfall is taking the core requirement too far toward the end-state solution… Can get bogged down fast.

@UnlikeBefore: #PMchat A2: Trying to create the solution.

@DennisHull: A2: I think failures are less often about requirements themselves & more about properly identifying/listening to stakeholders #pmchat


Q3: Req.& Planning are often overlooked, rushed by the business/client. How do you express the importance of this step?

@klkaz: @null #pmchat A3. need to draw a clear path from requirements to scope to plan to measurable outcomes

@jasonshaffner: #pmchat A3: (Half kidding) Recount horror stories about what went wrong elsewhere and how weak requirements were the root cause..

@klkaz: @null Love this! The bigger the stick… RT @UnlikeBefore: #PMchat A3: Explain about the bat…

@UnlikeBefore: #PMChat A3: Seriously… Be clear about risks. Let them know where compromise is possible or not & what that mean

@stacy_pearson: A3 – talk about building a house – you wouldn’t just say you want 3 bedrooms, 2 bath – you would design detailed blueprints. #pmchat

@jasonshaffner: #pmchat A3a: I like to take time to explain concretely how a weak requirement could hurt you-where its ambiguities are, etc.

@michael_greer: #PMChat A3: Premise: Stakeholders review/reject deliverables & (if not participating) can surprise ambush. So, up-front work w/them is key.

@jasonshaffner: #pmchat A3b: The cost components of rework are often new info for stakeholders; orient stakeholders upfront and head off resistance.


Q4: Any particular tools used for tracking & sharing requirements? Especially multinational teams?

@klkaz: @null #pmchat A4. have used rational rose for certain projects. meh. prefer simply spreadsheet/matrix for easy communication/sharing

@PamStanton: A4. You mean there’s something other than Excel used to track requirements??? (LOL!) #PMChat

@stacy_pearson: A4: Same here – Sharepoint, Excel, etc

@jasonshaffner: #pmchat A4. Prefer to use Confluence and JIRA; Excel has its strengths but terrible for reporting and collaboration.


Thank you all for your participation, it really is the community as a whole that makes this weekly chat such fun.  We also want to thank you for all of your mentions on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn , etc.  We would be honored if you could add this page to your Blogroll, talk to your local PMI chapter and help us grow this community of PMs.  Again, lets remember to keep #PMChat collaborative and not just a series of 1-way retweets.  I am learning a lot and enjoy the discussions I have with all of you.


*Reminder: Please submit topic ideas at the Suggestion Box so we can talk about the things that interest/challenge you.


Join Us next week on the Pre-Game Show at 11:30AM EST and then join us on Twitter from 12:00-1:00 as #PMChat talks about Managing Scope



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