Have you ever found yourself in the situation, where as you are at the tail end of a project, tying up the loose ends…but trying to remember what all the loose ends were? And just when you thought you were finished…you remembered something else that you needed to do? Sound familiar?
To ensure that all items get covered, create an issues list for requirements. An issue is anything that needs to be followed up on. This could be a question that needs to be asked, a decision about scope that needs to be made or even a simple to-do item that needs to be accomplished.
The creation of an issues list during requirements gathering is necessary to help us remember all that needs to be done. No one can remember to do everything, and by writing it down, you don’t have to remember. It can help us determine when we will be done, ensure that all issues are addressed, and allow the project to enter development earlier, since there is a defined list of known issues instead of waiting for the perfect requirements document.
Integrating issue tracking into the requirements process is painless and actually saves so much time and energy it becomes a necessity. It is one of those applications that you wonder how you ever lived without. Depending on the ease of use of your issue tracking system, you may be able to enter the issues during a review session itself.
- Create an issue list when you engage a project.
- Whenever you have an issue, add it to the list immediately. After a meeting, you might go add all of the issues from that meeting to the list. We sometimes even add all parking lot and all meeting follow-up action items to this list. EVERYONE on the team should do this.
- Review it at least once per week, but preferably daily. Project leads need to be intimately familiar with their list. You can do it in your stand-ups.
- Remind owners to follow-up on theirs.
- Setup issue meetings with customers as needed.
- Take relevant issues to your elicitation and review sessions with customers.
- Follow up on your issues.
- Update the issue list with any related information or answers.
- Close when it’s dealt with.
The key is to have the issues in a list to trigger your memory that an issue even exists. Keep the process and workflow simple and use the issue tracking system simply as a list of overall requirements action items. If you do this, you will find yourself ensuring that nothing slips through the cracks.