The following is the fifth in a 7 part series of tips to ensure success in requirements management. Read part one of the series: Stay Connected and download the whitepaper, 7 Tips to Ensure Success with RM.
You don’t have to be an expert to capture the voice of your customer – just committed. This may sound obvious, but it’s easy to lose sight of customer needs as a project gets underway and the team gets to work building the solution. Keep in mind, we use the word “customers” to define the end-users of the product you’re building – these customers could be external consumers for commercial products or internal users in the case of internal IT systems where other departments and employees are your customers.
Capturing the voice of the customer isn’t a one-time effort. Most project teams do a thorough requirements gathering session at the beginning of a project, but rarely does the customer interaction carry through to the end. Successful requirements management practices include constant communication with customers. Otherwise, you risk falling into the trap of delivering a product that endusers reject because it doesn’t resonate with how they expect to use it. There’s definitely an art to eliciting feedback and requirements from customers and clearly some people are better at it than others.
There’s a plethora of books and courses out there to provide training for this specific skill. However, you don’t need to be a requirements management expert to capture the voice of your customers. The fundamental skill required is commitment. Commit to picking up the phone every week and talking to customers. Commit to getting out of your office and sitting down with customers in their real environments. These are things everyone on the team can do, and should do. Even in Agile it’s not always possible to have an on-site customer present, so you have to commit to getting that feedback other ways.
Here’s a quick list of dos and don’ts about how to stay connected to your customers.