Clients are often good at expressing their wants but not their needs. In the swing project illustration, for example, the client only really needed a tire swing but explained as though he/she wanted something else. Project managers must always look for needs. A successful project starts with the knowledge of what the client really needs and ends when those needs are satisfied. If a project manager is not clear on what the client needs out of the project, don't expect him or her to know what it takes to complete it. More often than not, project managers have to prepare the client to have the attitude, commitment, and willingness to be involved because not all clients will be open and proactive in this process.
Here are a few tips for gathering requirements;
- Choose the right person for the job, someone with exceptional communication skills and technical background.
- Meet with the customer frequently- the sooner the better
- Ask plenty of questions
- Use interviews, focus groups, workshops.
- Use these group creativity techniques: brainstorming, nominal group technique, the Delphi technique, idea/mind mapping, affinity diagram.
- Distribute questionnaires and surveys.
- Document and confirm
- Revisit the requirements often