Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Argh...this is not what I wanted!

Analyzing and determining accurate user requirements is one of the most critical task in a role of a project manager (PM).
Sometimes simple requirements may also end up being misunderstood resulting in the wrong item delivered.
Like in my case last week, I had asked my brother to buy my first watch winder for my small collection of automatic mechanical watches. Simple right? He got one that looked like this:
Yah it look alright but it is so different from what I had wanted. What I had wanted was a watch winder that is more compact....more stylish looking that does not look like a box......what I wanted was a watch winder that looked like the one below.

After I overcame my initial disappointment and regained my logical frame of mind, I knew this could have been avoided if I had been more pro-active in describing my requirements for my first watch winder to my brother.
Instead of just stating my requirements as a watch winder that cost $xx, that could hold up to 6 watches, I could have elaborated on my requirements like compactness, without drawer, etc. Instead of assuming all watch winders are like the one I have seen before, I could have provided a supporting picture.
As PMs, we can't allow requirements to be vague, whether its requirements from users or our requirements to vendors else we will risk ending up with the wrong deliverables.
In a huge project, the impact is rework and incurring more cost. At a smaller scale, the impact is ending up with a wrong watch winder.

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