Customer Contact

Our requirements team received a request to cost some changes in the customer’s organization. Since the members of the requirements team are new, they asked the development team for some help determining how these changes were going to affect our system. The only person who responded was a database administrator. He took a couple important keywords from the request, and searched the database for column names which matched the keywords. This did not seem to help the requirements team any.

So the requirements team once again reached out to development for assistance. At this time then sent a request for help to me. I looked at the search the DBA conducted and determined that it was of no use. Therefore I asked the requirements team to provide me everything the customer had sent them. I took a few minutes to review the documents, and determined that these changes affect a lot of systems in the customer organization. However it had no impact on our system.

Now I know I have been working on this project for a while. So I have deep domain knowledge. But there are many members of our client organization that have worked on the project much longer. Any one of them could have easily determined these changes have no impact on our system. Why didn’t the requirements team reach out to them? Maybe they did not want to appear dumbfounded to the customer. But I thought having a good relationship with the customer was the job of the requirements team. Yes I can do requirements work. But then why do we need a requirements team in the first place?

Most of the information I have seen from the requirements team adds little value to determining what our customer actually requires. The team takes documents authored by the client and formats them to make them requirements documents. There is little to no analysis. When I ask them questions about what they have reformatted, I frequently get blank stares. Something is definitely not right here. I feel like I am working with people who are churning out a lot of words. But the words have no meaning to them. They are skilled at the art of generating output. Its just that they have no clue what any of it means. Are we doomed or what?