How to manage evolving requirements over time ?
- Requirements are bound to evolve once they are captured, its imperative that they are captured in an official electronic format in their original version and as subsequent changes are requested, they are appended to the original version and not overwritten.
- The needs for traceability cannot be emphasized enough here.
- Traceability affords the product manager and the team the ability to ensure that they can trace back the requirement to its source, as well as the reason for the requirement, and a linkage to other related requirements
- The longer the development phase, the more likely that product changes will emerge from all the business functions as they evolve their functional support plans
- Successful products seem to allow for selective changes, mostly related to new competitive information or other unanticipated market factors but not for minor cosmetic or non-validated reasons.
- They key to be able to do so is t be able to formally capture and document such changes from the time they are first requested as Engineering change requests or feature requests in project tracking tools like Atlassian JIRA or others
- One of the key problems to avoid is, of course, scope creep or feature creep, especially without appropriate adjustment of critical documents.
- Some firms freeze the requirements instead of waiting for a major enhancement that may not be scheduled.
- To avoid missing the market window, they send out essential changes in a retrofit kit to customers after launch in software domain.
A traceable way to accept, manage and evolve requirements overtime in a manageable way.
Source: Haines, S. (n.d.). The Product Manager’s Desk Reference.