Requirements Management Plan

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Suppliers and customers work together to establish a requirements management plan.
Suppliers and customers work together to establish a requirements management plan. (Image: "motion gears -team force" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: ralphbijker (R11) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)

A requirements management plan is a cooperative effort between suppliers and their business customers to control and coordinate any changes to product requirements. The types of requirements listed in the plan can include capital, technological and human resources, or processes such as assembly, report-generation, and auditing procedures.

Benefits

Requirements management planning benefits both sides of the supplier/customer relationship by making production processes more efficient and synchronized along the supply chain. Pooling creative resources can create a level of understanding and cooperation that will allow a supply chain to achieve a competitive advantage by eliminating redundancies and overutilization of resources.

Components

The requirements management planning template provided on jiludwig.com lists six main sections for a comprehensive plan. The “Overview” section defines the purpose and scope of the plan, as well as an overview of documentation requirements and a list of changes that have been made to the plan.

The second section, “Roles and Responsibilities,” lists the project managers and other decision makers responsible for ensuring that the plan is executed, audited and revised on a regular basis. Key managers for all companies involved in the plan should be included.

The third section, “Requirements Processes,” describes the process of defining and authorizing changes in product requirements. Information that is needed for decision makers before making changes to established requirements are laid out in this section, and the methods for making decisions known throughout the supply chain are established. The “Requirements Processes” section also details the time frames in which decisions should be made, and the frequency of performance audits.

Include a “Tools” section to outline all tools that will be used in the decision-making process. Tools for requirements management activities usually consist of project planning software packages and visual planning techniques such as diagrams and flow charts.

The fifth section, “Requirements Documentation,” specifies how requirements flows will be documented, and the types of documents and reports that will be produced throughout the life of the plan. Reports related to performance metrics and traceability are among the types of documents that will be produced by a requirements management plan.

The sixth section should outline the metrics to be used in evaluating the performance of the plan. Include an appendix at the end of your plan to list any supplemental details or examples referenced in previous sections.

Metrics

Establish performance metrics early in your requirements planning process to aid in the evaluation and adaptation of your plan. According to jiludwig.com, common performance metrics for requirements management plans include whether or not individual requirements are being met, the number of requirements changes related to a specific product, and the amount of the planning budget that has been expended.

Traceability

Traceability is an important factor in understanding the flow of requirements through interrelated production processes. Resource requirements are usually dependent on the fulfillment of other requirements, and can be prerequisites for subsequent requirements themselves. Traceability is also useful in tracking steps in a process that are each dependent on the previous step, and which must be completed before the next step can be taken.

Resources

Requirements planning templates are available on the web free of charge. These templates can ensure that you’ve included all pertinent information in your plan, and can save time by allowing you and your partners to proceed directly to the planning process. Follow the link at the end of this article to find a requirements management plan template.

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