Posted by tac_admin, May 27, 2015

How to Resolve Conflicting Requirements with Stakeholders

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Photo credit: Cristian V.

Conflicting requirements among multiple stakeholders mean that you really have no requirements at all. As you’re working to elicit requirements, you may find yourself in this frustrating (but luckily, solvable) situation.

Look at this way: in the world of business analysis, no one wins unless everyone wins. But sometimes it’s hard to navigate how to solve this very crucial issue.

To resolve conflicting requirements, it’s important to get to the underlying cause. Otherwise, you’ll continue to have requirements that do nothing other than cancel one another out.

Here are two ways this might play out.

Conflicting Requirements Scenario 1: A couple of stakeholders don’t have a firm grasp on company goals, and as a result, don’t see how one requirement drives success forward. This misunderstanding prompts them to push for another requirement—one that won’t do as much to build the successful outcome you’re working to achieve.

Conflicting Requirements Solution: Use the business case as a centerpiece to outline company goals. If you can, ask these stakeholders to outline what they feel the goals are or should be. Compare those two opposing sentiments, and then explain how elements of that idea fall into the big picture.

Think of it as creating a higher level of overall goals, and that each of the stakeholders has a unique portion to bring to the table. This is when it becomes apparent that not everyone is on the same page. When the problem is out in the open, it becomes much easier to solve.

Conflicting Requirements Scenario 2: Two or more stakeholders understand that the requirements need to fall in line with overall company goals, but there are inconsistencies with how these goals need to be supported.

Conflicting Requirements Solution: This is when you bring your BRD out to play. Your business requirement document will have the nitty-gritty details that outline how a project rolls out. Make sure those details are comprehensive, so that you can answer questions and cancel out conflicting requirements.

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