A Bridge Between Two Detailed Standards

One of the reasons I haven’t yet finished my PMI-PBA Certification study guide is that I wanted to make sure I was in alignment with PMI’s Requirements Management: A Practice Guide. For those of you who may have gone on holiday early, PMI published its new practice guide in December. At the date of this post it is still free to download so I suggest you get a copy.

The new Requirements Management: A Practice Guide is pretty short (82 pages) and provides high level definitions of requirements practices with references to the PMBOK® Guide and Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice Guide in each section.

In the introduction to the guide, PMI states that this new guide is intended to provide a bridge between these two existing standards:  PMBOK® Guide 5th edition and the Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice Guide. I’d say it does a pretty good job of this and will be a resource for managers and junior business analysts to get an introduction to requirements terms and best practices without diving into one of the deeper documents.

Key Highlights from the Practice Guide

For those of you who have read the PMBOK® Guide and the Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice Guide there are no surprises in this new book. The content is consistent and aligned with the existing guides.  There are a few items I want to highlight.

  • The guide acknowledges that business analysis work is bigger or broader than just requirements management. When the PMI-PBA certification was originally released PMI didn’t articulate its view of the difference between “business analysis” and “requirements management”.  Now they have. Good work.
  • The guide acknowledges that the same requirements-related activities must be done regardless of the project life cycle (predictive or adaptive); it is the timing of the work and formality of the documentation which differs. (In other words, agile projects need requirements elicitation and analysis work!!)
  • The guide includes portfolio-level activities and their relationship to requirements. The PMI-PBA certification primarily refers to program and project management so I am glad to see portfolio management included. In my opinion, portfolio managers should utilize enterprise level business analysts on a full time basis.
  • After defining requirements types, the guide indicates that project, quality, and program requirements are not part of the requirements management process and typically the responsibility of the project or program manager (but may be delegated). Watch for an upcoming article from RMC about quality requirements and what they mean to PMs and BAs.
  • In at least two sections, the guide refers to reusing requirements as a way to increase productivity. Maybe if we all keep saying this, organizations will start investing in requirements repositories!

Bottom Line – Better Management of Project Requirements

In summary, this is another good resource for requirements’ best practices and solidifies PMI’s commitment to helping their members improve their projects through better management of requirements. I can get back to work on my study guide now and feel confident that it will align with this new practice guide. Read my first post around the study guide.