23 December 2011

It’s Christmas – Let’s Not Talk About Requirements

Hopefully you have your shopping all done and are ready for the holidays. I admit I’m a bit of a procrastinator. But this year I got things done early and I’m all ready to celebrate. We’ve made plans for the family to get together. We know who is bringing what food for our big dinner. We follow the same process every year for opening gifts – youngest to the oldest.

Think about a different scenario. It is Christmas Eve and you are frantically running from store to store to buy gifts. They are picked over and you can’t really find what you want so you settle for just about anything. You rush home to prepare dinner. Only you find you don’t have many of the ingredients you need so you run back to the store. That’s picked over too. You can’t make the pie you wanted because you can’t find the ingredients. There are few turkeys left, only small ones, so you have to buy three small ones instead of one big one. You run home and work all evening preparing your meal. The next morning the family arrives, each one bringing a dish. And to your dismay you find you have four bowls of mashed potatoes and four bowls of sweet potatoes. No salad. No stuffing. Just your three turkeys and some potatoes. And no desserts. You open presents and there is not a big response to your gifts. Unfortunately there was nothing in those packages that the family really wanted. This scenario definitely is a result of no planning.

I’m sure you can see where this discussion is going. No planning. The results are questionable. We can probably get by with the end results. But it’s not ideal. Often it’s not even acceptable. Sometimes or family is forced to take what we give them, even if it’s not what they really wanted.

There’s always an excuse not to think about planning. I was trying to think of all of the excuses I have heard over the years. See if you recognize some of these.

I’m working too many hours to plan these activities.

The family doesn’t know what they want.

No one tells me what they would like for Christmas.

Our schedule doesn’t allow any time to plan – we just have to wing it.

We know it’s important, but who is really going to do the planning.

And so on it goes.

I said we wouldn’t talk about requirements and I haven’t mentioned them once (until this sentence). But without saying anything I’m sure you can see where this discussion is going. Since it is the Christmas week I won’t even add any additional points.

I will only say that I hope your holidays are better planned that we have talked about here. Enjoy the holidays with your families. And don’t think about requirements one time until you are back at work. Then you can think about the kind of scenario you want for your project. I wish the best for you and your family during this holiday season.

By: Marcia Stinson

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