AIPMM Webinar: Rules of Requirements with Scott Sehlhorst, Tyner Blain


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Moderated by Cindy F. Solomon
Founder, Global Product Management Talk

The most important thing a product manager will do is develop an understanding of their market. The second most important thing they will do is form a strategy for their product, given that understanding. The third most important thing is to communicate to the rest of the team what needs to be done, to implement that strategy, to win in that market.

That's why we write requirements - to communicate what needs to be built, as part of an approach to meeting the needs of a market. The rules of writing requirements help us communicate more effectively when writing requirements. Pretty narrow scope, pretty powerful impact.

About The Speaker, Scott Sehlhorst

Scott has been helping companies achieve Software Product Success since 1997, and started Tyner Blain in 2005. Scott is a strategy and product management consultant. He has also worked as a business analyst, technical consultant, software developer, project manager, program manager, and electro-mechanical design engineer. Scott has managed teams from 5 to 50, and delivered millions of dollars in value to his customers.

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AIPMM Webinar: Rules of Requirements with Scott Sehlhorst, Tyner Blain

  1. 1. AIPMM Webinar Series© AIPMM 2012
  2. 2. © AIPMM 2012
  3. 3. Today’s Speakers Moderator: Cindy F. Solomon, CPM, CPMM Founder, Global Product Management Talk Twitter: @ProdMgmtTalk @startupproduct @cindyfsolomon Presenter: Scott Sehlhorst Tyner Blain© AIPMM 2012 @AIPMM #prodmgmt
  5. 5. The Rules of Requirements 25 September, 2012
  6. 6. Scott SehlhorstProduct management & strategy consultant 8 Years electromechanical design engineering (1990-1997) IBM, Texas Instruments, Eaton 8 Years software development & requirements (1997-2005) > 20 clients in Telecom, Computer HW, Heavy Eq., Consumer Durables 7+ Years product management consulting (2005-????) >20 clients in B2B, B2C, B2B2C, ecommerce, global, mobile Agile since 2001 Started Tyner Blain in 2005 Helping companies Build the right products, right 6
  7. 7. Why Do We Care……About Writing Good Requirements?
  8. 8. Track Record(Standish Group CHAOS Report) 8
  9. 9. Root Cause AnalysisFailure reasons Success factorsLack of user input User involvementIncomplete requirements Exec supportChanging requirements Clear requirementsLack of exec support Proper planningTech. incompetence Realistic expectations 9
  10. 10. Rules of Requirements1. Valuable 7. Unambiguous2. Concise 8. Verifiable3. Design Free 9. Atomic4. Attainable 10. Passionate5. Complete 11. Correct6. Consistent 12. Stylish
  11. 11. 1. Valuable Requirements
  12. 12. 2. Concise Requirements
  13. 13. 3. Design-Free RequirementsThis is really about trust.The “stack” of problemdecomposition alternatesbetween requirements anddesign. A business is designed to focus on solving particular problems. A user designs an approach to solving problems. A product manager designs a set of target capabilities that (should) help the user and business. The engineering team designs solutions that embody those capabilities
  14. 14. 4. Attainable RequirementsCan You Build It? Existing Team Available Technology Internal Political EnvironmentCan You Launch It? Organizational Dependencies Legal Restrictions (National, Local, IP)
  15. 15. 5. Complete RequirementsYou Cannot AbsolutelyDetermine CompletenessObjective Assessment Have you identified all of the problems to succeed in the market?Heuristic Assessment Have you identified how to completely solve the problems?
  16. 16. 6. Consistent RequirementsStrategic Consistency Does this requirement work in concert with others to achieve our strategic goals?Logical Consistency A requires B Must have A Must not have BGrammatical Consistency Writing with the same tone, structure, phrasing…
  17. 17. 7. Unambiguous RequirementsLanguage Introduces AmbiguityWhen Writing Identify the user, the context, the goal Be precise in language (avoid jargon, symbols)When Reading Shared language (e.g. “must” vs. “shall”) Read The Ambiguity Handbook and you’ll be forever paranoid about misinterpretation of everything you ever write again. Ever.
  18. 18. 8. Verifiable RequirementsDoes it Have a Measurable Aspect? If not, how do you know if you delivered?Do You Know the Measure of Success? If not, how do you know what you need to deliver?Do You Have the Ability to Measure It? Aha! Time to write another requirement.
  19. 19. 9. Atomic RequirementsEvery Requirement Stands on its OwnThe Defining Characteristic: A Requirement Cannot Be Half-Done. It is Either Done, or Not Done.
  20. 20. 10. Passionate RequirementsBe Excited. Be Committed.Care About Your Customers & Their Problems Your Company & Its Strategy Your Team & Their Enrichment Your Work & Its QualityHave Passion…It Will Show in Your Requirements
  21. 21. 11. Correct RequirementsAre You Focusing on theCorrect Market Segments, Customers, Problems?Do You Know That These Arethe Right Requirements?Can We Achieve Our GoalsWithout TheseRequirements?
  22. 22. 12. Stylish RequirementsWrite Consistently Use Good Style And With Good Style-> The System Must…Prioritize Explicitly Intentional Perspective Ordered Backlog, not Non-Negative MoSCoW Reference, Don’t RepeatWrite for Your Audience Gender Indifference Syntactic Parallelism
  23. 23. Thank You!Scott Sehlhorst Twitter Blog About Me SlideShare Google + Email scott.sehlhorst Skype Agile since 2001 Started Tyner Blain in 2005 Helping Companies Build The Right Thing, Right 24
  24. 24. Please Join Us Again! Global Product Management Talk #ProdMgmtTalk Mondays Dec 17 Power Of Pattern Recognition For Product Success Follow AIPMM Webinar Series Fridays 2013 Jan 4, 2013 How Ideas Become Products: Managing Innovation Become a Product Leader! February 5 & 6, San Francisco 2 Day Intensive: Product Innovation Leadership Startup Product Summit February 7, 2013, San Francisco Discover how to work together to develop amazing products. Registration is now open! Newsletter: LinkedIn: Membership: Certification:© AIPMM 2012 @AIPMM