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Requirements Baselining: A Critical Part Of Project Development

One of the most common reasons for project failure is the scope and requirements creep. About 43% of projects face challenges due to budget overrun or uncontrolled changes to the project’s scope.

Stakeholders changing the scope in the midstream of project development is very common. These changes result in the addition of new requirements for the project. And if the scope of the project changes new requirements might lead to project reschedule and increase in budget. Otherwise, you might face budget overrun or rework.

Changes in projects are inevitable, so is the possibility of scope creep. To combat this challenge, you should focus on authorizing the changes. By involving stakeholders in scope and requirement baseline activities, you can achieve this. Through stakeholder participation and engagement, you will be able to minimize the adverse impacts of change.

In this article, we will understand the practice of requirement baseline and its importance in project development.

What is a Requirements Baseline

The foundation of any project development is to have a shared vision. To fulfill this concept requirement baselining is done. Requirement baseline acts as a reference point for reviewed and approved set of requirements for a specific project release. The release could be for a complete project or an interim development of a product.

The first step towards requirements baselining is to define your requirements. Then, they must be agreed to by all key stakeholders. Once your team establishes requirements baseline, the team should follow a pragmatic change control approach for adding newly requested features, alteration, or deletion of existing requirements.

Requirement baselining is not just about the change control process. It provides decision-makers with information that lets them make timely and appropriate decisions to modify the planned functionality.

Why Requirement Baseline is Important

In project management, it is crucial to establish a baseline with clearly defined requirements, precise cost structure, and scheduling estimates, before the stages of project design and execution begin. It keeps the team from diverging, reducing inconsistencies, and enables the team to view the big picture. Here’s how it can benefit your project-

Helps identify the feasibility of the project

Baselining your requirements before the design phase puts your requirement set under scrutinization. Any changes proposed to your requirements then must go to the configuration control board who will evaluate each change for feasibility, impacts to cost, schedule, and risk. Validate the changes against the baselined scope, and formally approve/reject the change.

Improves project estimation accuracy

Every time a change to the scope of a project occurs, the schedule and cost should be updated. Thus evolving the baseline of a project. Having an agreed requirement baseline helps avoid this frequent hassle.

After measuring the risk and feasibility of a project, it becomes easier to estimate the cost and schedule. Also, by comparing baselines of similar projects, you can effectively improve future project estimation.

Saves time during the project review cycle

An approved Requirement baseline reduces the project review cycle during the verification and validation stage. Because the chances of diverging from the intent of stakeholders minimize, and it pays off by reducing rework and cost overruns.

 

Although Jira does not provide requirements baselining functionality by default, there are few marketplace applications which can help you with this.

Are you using any marketplace application to create and manage your requirements baselines? If yes, which application are you using?

3 comments

Even though your article aims for Jira at the end, for those using Confluence for keeping their requirements, our team at OBSS built Baselines for Confluence app.

https://marketplace.atlassian.com/1212963

You know, Confluence already keeps all versions of its pages. This app creates a collection of version specific page links (and attachments) based on a given date, that is practically a baseline.

The app allows you to browse and search in this baseline, compare two baselines or compare a baseline with the current space, export a baseline file list as CSV, and see in which baselines any given page takes place in (with which version).

It supports both Confluence Server and Data Center.

Disclaimer: I´m from Ease Solutions, the vendor of R4J

Hello Baseline user and lovers, 

I can also suggest you our add-on R4J - Requirements Management for Jira. It offers you the option to create and compare baselines on project level. As R4J offers you a (flexible) tree structure, you can also create the baseline on issues just part of a tree branch. Issues in a tree can come from different projects.

Additional to this, the tool offers you much more features for requirement engineering, e.g.

  • Setup a tree structure which follows your grade of detail with independent folder elements.
  • A reading view which considers your structure - like chapters in Word
  • Suspect monitoring for changed issues (and it´s effect to linked ones)
  • Coverage and Traceability views to get your linking cleaned up
  • Revisions (with compare option) for full history of changes
  • Reuse of issues and folder structures across projects 
  • Export features by your own templates

If you interested in a free 90 min demo including your use case please contact our friendly service desk. You can test R4J for free, just download it from the marketplace.

Have a great day, Bernhard

I don't work for a vendor and haven't used it on a live project yet, but I'm very interested in Delibr. We started a trial and I intend on rolling it out to the business now that we're back at the coalface. It allows you to document requirements and decisions in a collapsible hierarchy.

You can share and comment like a Google doc, but the really cool part is that you can link your Jira account and set up issues based on the user stories in Delibr.

Like Farid Bonawiede likes this

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