Thursday, February 02, 2006
Is it Scope Creep, or a Negotiation?
The standard colloquialism "gathering requirements" is a misnomer, as it gives the appearance that we scoop up or harvest requirements from the business much like a farmer reaps a harvest some length of time after planting and tending to his crops.
In real life, requirements are not often gathered, they're negotiated, and a good deal of those negotiations occur after the 'requirements gathering' phase of projects have passed. I have unscientifically polled students with IT backgrounds in my project management courses posing the question "How many of you have had any project in your career where 100% of the requirements were known up front and that's exactly what was delivered at the end of the project?"
The answer, of course, is zero. Requirements are always continuously refined and/or negotiated as development proceeds. Perhaps we should call the often-dreaded moniker 'scope creep' with what it actually is in reality: 'continuous negotiation.'
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