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User requirements

At some point in time we must sit down with the user to ascertain exactly what is required.
PRINCE2® will ensure this happens through the Project Board and the position of Senior User who represents those who will use the final product.

The user could just mean those utilising the direct project team output.
This is usually termed the Project Sponsor (or client) and may not be the actual user of the final product.
The Project Sponsor will be funding the project but may not be the direct user of the final product.

User requirements would be documented, agreed and signed off by all relevant parties.
This would then be kept in the Project Notebook as part of the project plan.

Document the Requirements Specification

Typical specifications of a final product could include:

  • Materials
  • Dimensions / tolerances
  • Performance etc
  • Signed off by the user

However, depending on the detail in the specification, once the initial schedule is in place this may require review.
For example, if part of the agreement is to carry out the work within a budget of £500,000 and the first estimate is £600,000 then a review of the specification, by discussion with the customer, is needed.

Concerned with ‘what’ not ‘how’

This process is only concerned with ‘what’ and not ‘how’.
‘How’ you get to the final product will be down to the choice of a particular strategy and identifying the tasks required to prepare the schedule.

Under PRINCE2 2009 specification is raised within many processes.

One consideration at project initiation should be who is permitted to authorize requests for change or off-specifications.
It is the Project Board’s responsibility to agree to each potential change before it is implemented.
[see Organization - The PRINCE2 approach - The project management team - Change Authority]
Other references are given in the ‘related information’.

PRINCE2 2009 [see ‘The Complete Project Management plus PRINCE2’] promotes the use of tolerances.
[see Progress - Progress defined - Exceptions and tolerances]

An exception is a situation where it can be forecast that there will be a deviation beyond the agreed tolerance levels.
Tolerances are the permissible deviation above and below a plan’s target for time and cost without escalating the deviation to the next level of management.
There may also be tolerance levels for quality, scope, benefit and risk.