2009 Health Care Reform Initiative Lesson #2: Without a Clear Definition of the Problem You Want to Solve, you cannot write good requirements for your development team


house of card

 

Without a clear understanding of the problem(s) you want to solve, how can you write the requirements needed in the solution your development team creates? They will assume the problems and will try solve those with  assumed requirements as facts. The farther the requirements move from actual market problems that you have agreed you need solved, the farther the final product solution will be from something that resonates in your marketplace.

In this case congress was asked to create a Health Care Reform bill with the lack of a clear understanding of problems they were to solve and my guess is they therefore did not have prioritized requirements that clearly explain what the final solution must do, and for whom. Couple this with being given an aggressive product launch date for your solution and you will experience what my father used to call: Haste makes waste. ( sound familiar, I have faced this many times)

Like congress, business owners use their gut and intuition at a time they should be gaining an intimate knowledge of their market, their buyers, buying process and buying criteria.

I am confident everyone “worked hard”, but I am also convinced without a clear understanding of problems to be solved they could not have “worked smart”.

What we are now experiencing with the 2009 Health Care Reform Initiative is symptomatic of leaders lacking market intelligence and a clear understanding of the problem(s) they are to solve. We see entrepreneurs with a vision boldly launching their solution into their markets only to find what they “thought” was a brilliant idea( their wife and golf buddies thought so) does not resonate with their customers and potential buyers. As I wrote in my post: Nail it before you scale it, you must completely solve the identified problems before you scale them. Scaling products that are not complete solutions only results in a lack of understanding among your customers and is often perceived as self serving, and an inside-out focused Market Loser, versus a market serving , Market Leader.. When this occurs you break trust.

Once trust is broken with buyers in your marketplace they are never won back 100%, and it will cost you dearly.

When you lack a clear definition of the problems you wish to solve you can not write requirements that are of value to the development team.

Without clear requirements, your development team will work very hard to solve the assumed problems they think you want solved and the perceived needs you “throw over the wall”. We not only need a list of the problems and defined requirements but development would also value the prioritization of those requirements.

Without open and clear communication development will decide the prioritization, again further drifting form market problems and solutions to urgent and pervasive needs.

One symptom of this is development spending more time defending what they built versus building new solutions your market wants to buy.

How about your organization….

 

Are you asking your development and or engineering to develop solutions without a clear understanding of the problem they are setting out to solve?

 

Does your development team have requirements or are they left to guess and assume?

 

Do you find your development team working “hard” or “smart”? Why or why not?

 

Do you find the quality of problem definition and the prioritization of requirements has an inverse relationship to the amount of time given for the solution to be launch?

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One thought on “2009 Health Care Reform Initiative Lesson #2: Without a Clear Definition of the Problem You Want to Solve, you cannot write good requirements for your development team

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