SEO PM Requirements explained: Requirements are not task activities

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A very common mistake that is made in Project Management (PM) when identifying project requirements,  is to begin listing the tasks/activities that will be done to implement the project. Task activities are not PM Requirements.

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https://mnprairieroots.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/copy-of-blizzday2-028.jpgRequirements are the detailed specifications for all of the deliverables for the project. They list (with a detailed description) WHAT will be delivered, not HOW it will be developed.

The difference is illustrated with the pictures to left. The picture shows the deliverable – a sidewalk from which the snow has been cleared. The requirements might be written as:

 

REQUIREMENTS:

  • Clear snow and ice from the sidewalk in front of 83 Main Street
    • Snow must be cleared to the full 4 foot width of the sidewalk (to both edges of the concrete)
    • Snow must be cleared to the property lines to left and right sides of the house
    • All patches of ice must be removed from the sidewalk

Notice how these requirements are very specific about what the final result must be but do not state how the deliverable will be created.

The middle and bottom pictures show tasks/activities – using a snowblower to clear a sidewalk and shoveling the snow off a sidewalk.

Note that there is one deliverable – a cleared sidewalk – but two (and possibly more) sets of activities that can be used to create that deliverable.

 

Making Requirements Specific and Measurable

Remember to use the “SMART” protocol when identifying project deliverables and defining their requirements:

  • Specific – Define the deliverable clearly and in detail, leaving no room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation
  • Measurable – State the measures and performance specifications that will be used to determine whether the deliverable is acceptable
  • Aggressive – Define the project deliverables so they encourage project stakeholders to stretch beyond their comfort zones
  • Realistic – While encouraging stakeholders to stretch beyond their comfort zones, also make sure the deliverables are realistic given project constraints
  • Time Sensitive – Make sure that you specify the dates for completion of the deliverables.

The statements used to describe the deliverables and their requirements are often too vague. For example:

  • “A live performance during the event.”
  • “All banners and posters should meet the criteria set in the design stage.”
  • “The food is high quality.”
  • “Have a working wireless network.”

Another example of requirements on the Creative Brief:

  1. Requirements for online and off line creative:
    1. The logo will be always located in the upper left of the flyer or sweepstake (off line and online)
    2. The background should be aqua blue
    3. The website URL should be visible on the flyer and sweepstakes front page
    4. Social media icons (facebook, twitter, and instagram, should be located at the bottom of the sweepstakes and flyer
    5. Consumer service number should always be spell out (xxx) xxx-xxxx
    6. Modern image should always be present
    7. Since the sweetakakes theme is the holidays and the New Year. The design of flyer and sweepstakes should contain New Years images.

 

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By Mary

Head of Integrated Digital Marketing and International Outreach
Maris Pozo is an Integrated Digital Marketer and member of the American Marketing Association, with over 9 years of experience on the agency side-and has worked with clients such as HP, LATimes, and Monster.com--In bilingual markets in Spain and U.S.

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