It is very easy and a great relief to assume that a couple of hours meeting with your solution vendor is sufficient to understand and agree about your requirements. Mislead by that notion decision makers proceed with contracting.

However, the ugly truth is that the devil lies in the details. Many companies have contracted software solution providers being impressed by a fancy demo with lovely colorful presentation slides then due to a loosely defined scope of work, they have failed to implement the so called “solution” for years loosing hundreds of thousands of Dollars and a lifetime professional stigma.

When acquiring a new solution, your business and solution requirements can not be vague, conflicted, incomplete or expressed in solution design terms. I wrote countless articles about the subject and I guess I always will…. because the mistakes are still repeated .. always under one devil trick .. Let’s move forward.. It is never forward.. Dedicating two or three months working only on your business needs and requirements before you actually buy is moving forward.

Figuratively speaking of course, it is very possible to be impressed by a suit or a dress in a shop window; walk in the store ask if they have it in black medium size and how much it costs, buy it then realize once it is fitted at your home that it made you look absolutely ridiculous due to a particular sideline cut or slim fit which does not suit your body shape.

Even if you have a perfect body figure and everything looks amazing on you. You are happy with the expensive suit you have bought then you discover it has no pockets at all, feels itchy irritating you skin once worn, then you dry clean it and discover post the event, that it was a new fabric invention which is only hand-washed ! Else shrinks.

It is the exact same scenario with software solutions and products. There is no one size fits all in software, each company will have particular business needs. These business needs shall be served for the money paid… nothing more and nothing less ..

I am not saying walkaway, do not buy software.. I am just saying make sure that you define your business needs and requirements very carefully prior to seeking and contracting a solution/product vendor. Never leave it up to your solution provider to decide what your business needs are.

You will never get any value unless you know what you want

While many studies confirm that the top reason for software projects failure is miscommunication, poor project management practices then poor requirements may come as the third reason. If you think about this for a minute, miscommunication results from “ambiguity” and leads to justified poor project management and lack of control. In other words, focusing on perfecting your requirements as early as possible is the key to ensuring stoppable common failure reasons are avoided all together.

More Time Fixing your vague requirements in a constructed or contracted solution is More Money Spent or Lost!

Once you have made an investment in a software, you will be resilient and stubborn to make it work right. If it was a wrong choice or base requirements were ambiguous, then you can repeat the worldwide famous failure stories which range from three up to thirteen years; accumulating additional costs every single day then the project is eventually cancelled.

These famous failures examples are not NASA/Rocket Science systems where business complexity is the reason, some of these globally worldwide known failures are as simple as an online securities trading (brokerage platform) in UK, the  TAURUS or the US Air Force ERP Solution. Both took up to thirteen years to make work right then have been scrapped off with billions of loss.

The devil does exist in the details and I am afraid software is all about details; the devil in this case is unavoidable but definitely controllable with good business analysis practices!

Written by Angie M. Eissa, CBAP, MSc BIT, UK Founder & Managing Partner of Business Borderlines