Enterprise Requirements Alignment: The Top Three Challenges

1. Change Management as an enterprise core competency. Consider any particular requirement. At any point in time, one of the following is true:

  1. The requirement is valid but not being met – in which case some aspect of the solution must be changed. 
  2. The requirement is not valid (even if it used to be) – subjecting it to further iterations of the requirements life cycle and corresponding changes to the underlying solution 
  3. The requirement is being met and will remain valid for the foreseeable future – in which case attention will turn to changes to the solution for increased efficiencies. (This means, by the way, that even the “as is” operational elements of an enterprise are as subject to change as the transformational elements.

    In other words, if the requirement is not being met, change is necessary. And if the requirement is being met, change is necessary. Earlier posts to this blog have said plenty about the position that everyone in an enterprise is carrying out requirements management within their respective domains. But what is requirements management but a specific form of change management?

2. Financial Fluency as an enterprise core competency. It is easy to construe scenarios in which the failure of even a single small-scope technical component of an IT based business solution can totally eliminate the solution’s business case. That means that senior management’s view of the solution’s status throughout the life cycle would ideally assimilate the status of that component, requiring the component’s owner to be able to express status in senior management terms of cost, risks, and trend. In other words, each contributor to a solution needs to be financially fluent within his or her domain. And, every time a change must be accommodated, contributors to the solution must reflect how that change impacts the financial picture for their own contributions.

3. The Business Analysis Center of Excellence (BACOE). Enterprise-wide consistency in managing changes to requirements and solutions, along with consistency in measuring, monitoring, and status reporting across, up and down the enterprise requirements hierarchy, demands an enterprise-level entity. This would serve to define and drive the implementation and continuous improvement of best practices in change management and financial management.

You might notice that I have not included in the top three the selection of a tool to underpin enterprise-wide change, requirements, and financial management. Tools are easy. The real challenge is driving the enterprise culture to the point where an understanding of one’s job in terms of requirements management, change management, and financial management is second nature.

Terry Longo has more than 25 years of IT experience, including software development, system and network administration, and instructing, as well as being responsible for the requirements, project management, and delivery aspects of complex training solutions. He currently holds the IT Service Manager ITIL and is responsible for HP Education’s ITIL, Project Management and Business Analysis curriculums in the US. Terry can be reached through http://www.hp.com/education/sections/pm_bus_analy.html or at [email protected]