No matter what the scope of your project, the importance of clearly defining your requirements team’s roles and responsibilities cannot be overestimated. A key task in requirements planning and management is the identification and documentation of team roles and responsibilities.
Of the typical roles and responsibilities that occur in a project team, not all of them may be necessary for all projects. Also, some individuals may take on more than one role.
Management of the requirements planning process is shared between the business analyst and the project manager.
- The business analyst identifies, documents, and manages the requirements; manages the requirements change process; and presents the requirements for review and approval.
- The project manager manages the project tasks that are involved in the creation, approval, management, and delivery of the requirements.
When gathering requirements for a project, the following team members are usually involved:
- The solution owner is responsible for defining and approving the project scope and ensuring that it aligns with the business strategy. The solution owner provides information when gathering requirements and is often directly involved in the approval of the final functional requirements.
- The subject matter expert (SME) provides expertise in a particular business functional area, and plays a significant role in defining and approving the functional requirements for the project. The SME typically works very closely with business analysts to identify and manage the requirements.
- End users can often provide valuable information and feedback about what a project’s requirements should be. End users will typically be affected most by the quality and completeness of the requirements, as they will be the ones who interact directly with the application.
- Stakeholders can be defined as anyone materially affected by the project outcome. Most stakeholders provide information during requirements gathering, and are usually involved in the review and approval of final requirements. The responsibilities of stakeholders vary greatly, according to the type and level of stakeholder.
- The executive sponsor often represents the project within her organization and holds overall management responsibility for project funding, resources, and decision making. The executive sponsor holds the ultimate approval of the requirements and management process.
Once the requirements for a project have been gathered, they need to be reviewed and approved from the perspectives of the developer, quality assurance (QA) analyst, application architect, database analyst (DBA), infrastructure analyst, information architect, and trainer.
- Developers operate in many different technical areas of a project. They cooperate with the business analyst and others on the project team to approve project requirements. They are also involved in delivering the solution to the end user, often working directly with trainers to do so.
- The quality assurance (QA) analyst should be involved in requirements review and approval to ensure requirements are clear and well defined. The major project task of the QA analyst is to ensure that the final product meets all user requirements and quality standards.
- The application architect defines the high-level design for a solution and ensures that it meets the project’s stated requirements. The application architect also reviews the requirements to confirm that they align with application goals.
- The database analyst (DBA) is responsible for designing, creating, and maintaining databases that will meet the performance and data requirements of the project. The DBA should also be involved in the review of requirements for this area.
- The infrastructure analyst ensures that the design of the hardware and software infrastructure meets the application’s development and operational requirements. The infrastructure analyst should be involved in requirements review and approval.
- The information architect is responsible for assessing project data requirements, identifying reusable data assets, and resolving data-modeling issues. Information architects should be involved in reviewing and approving data requirements.
- The trainer is responsible for creating and delivering training to end users. The trainer uses the functional requirements in developing suitable training materials. Trainers may also be involved with the review and approval of the requirements.
Using the RACI matrix
When documenting team roles and responsibilities, it is useful to break down each role to a more detailed level. Classifying each role in this way enables you to produce a set of clearly defined responsibilities for all team roles.
The RACI matrix is a powerful tool that you can use to classify the responsibilities of the roles involved in planning and managing requirements. It can also be used at any other stage in a project.
The RACI matrix uses four criteria to build a map of roles and how these roles relate to requirements planning and management:
- Roles classified as R are responsible – that is, they actually do the work.
- Roles classified as A are accountable – in other words, the key decision maker. There should be only one role classified in this way.
- Roles classified as C are consulted – in other words, they provide input and are consulted prior to the work being done.
- Roles classified as I are informed – usually on a need-to-know basis after the work is done.
It is the job of the business analyst to determine which roles are assigned under which section of the RACI matrix. He does this by considering each role and classifying it as either R, A, C, or I in terms of the role’s function in requirements planning.
RACI classifications for some roles may vary from project to project. For example, stakeholders’ roles may fall under R, C, or I, depending on the status of the stakeholders. The business analyst must make the call based on the needs of the project.
A key task in requirements planning and management is the identification and documentation of team roles and responsibilities. Among the team roles involved in requirements planning and management are the project manager; the business analyst, the solution owner, the executive sponsor, the subject matter expert, the end user, the stakeholder or stakeholders, the developer or developers, the quality assurance analyst, the application architect, the database analyst, the infrastructure analyst, the information architect, and the trainer.
The RACI matrix is a powerful tool that you can use to classify the responsibilities of the roles involved in planning and managing requirements. It can also be used at any other stage in a project. Roles in a RACI matrix are classified as either Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, or Informed.