Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Does Design Input Replace PRINCE2 Product Descriptions?

There is one recurring question in most organizations introducing PRINCE2: “Does Design Inputs, like functional requirements or user requirements, for the end outputs of the project replace any Product Descriptions for these end outputs?”
The short answer is “no”. If you have detailed design input for a product to be made, there is no need to repeat these detailed requirements in the Product Description. This helps simplify the Product Description, but it doesn’t make it redundant because:
  • The Product Descriptions covers more than a set of requirements. If a separate detailed requirement document exists, this is the quality criteria section of your product descriptions and should be referred to there. Clarity on quality method, quality tolerance and quality responsible is still needed to secure full alignment in the project organization. 

  • The detailed requirement documentation doesn’t (always) take into account how you split your project into stages. Let us say you have a team building a piece of software, and you have the requirements documented in design input documents. If you organize the work into three stages, one to produce a prototype, one to produce a release candidate, and one to produce the final software, you need three different product descriptions creating clarify on what the expectation is for each of the “releases”. Your design input documents will not do this for you.

In PRINCE2, the design input documents are of course products themselves, but that is a different story.

Related Articles:
Warning: Product Description is not a Functional Requirement Specification
What is a PRINCE2 Product
PRINCE2 – Hierarchy of Requirements

 Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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