Poor requirement writing still haunting IT projects?

A 12 per cent increase in the IT budget is needed to fix these defects originating in the requirements definition and add 10 per cent to cost base

Pratima Harigunani
New Update

CHENNAI, INDIA: During an IT adoption cycle, the business heads and IT teams usually get into a conflict where the final outcome does not meet the business requirements; and six out of 10 times, one would find large gaps between the solution and the stated requirements. Ideally in an IT project, 25 per cent - 28 per cent of the time should be spent on writing requirements; in reality, less than 10 per cent of the total time is dedicated to this exercise. Moreover, poor definition of requirements does not meet the vision of any project thereby causing the gap to grow.


Maveric Systems, a provider of IT Lifecycle Assurance and NelsonHall, a BPO and IT outsourcing research & analysis firm, have released a report focusing on business requirements definition and management. The study reveals that gaps exist in understanding the scope of the project between business heads and the IT team, right from the early stage where business requirements are defined.

Underestimating the consequences of poor business requirements definition always proves costly for the organization. Maveric’s data over the last 10 years indicates that in 50 per cent of the projects, up to 35 per cent of the IT budget is wasted due to rework caused by poor definition and management of requirements.

Defect prevention is always better than defect detection, therefore helping corporates optimize their IT spending and time spent on adopting IT systems. Requirements Assurance has therefore become a key focus area for organizations today, to optimize utilization of funds and resources, and thereby meet the vision of the project.


The study reveals that while a reasonable effort goes into defining high level requirements, there is very less time and effort that goes into capturing detailed requirements from the very beginning of the project.

Some other key findings of the report show that only 50-60 per cent of Business and IT Heads are satisfied with their organizations’ Requirement Management practices. Also, due to poor requirements definition, development time goes up by 25 per cent in transformation projects, and by 19-29 per cent in BAU (Business-As-Usual) engagements. Some 23 per cent of the projects are either deferred or not implemented due to poor definition of requirements. It was also noticed that banks spend five per cent of their overall IT budget on Requirements Assurance

“This report reveals that over 23 per cent of the projects are either deferred or not deployed due to the poor definition of business requirements—this translates to the amount of money and time that is wasted due to poor definition and management of business requirements. Technology programs have become a priority in every CIO’s agenda today. Therefore, there is a compulsory need for a change in approach to deliver critical quality goals and, business requirements definition management is the starting point,” John Willmott, CEO - NelsonHall said.

Additionally, as these business requirements are extremely dynamic, requirements management and stability of these requirements throughout the lifecycle become extremely critical. This can be done with able requirements management processes and competencies. Maveric has evolved a global standards-based framework, processes and tools that encompasses all the steps involved in Requirements Lifecycle Management. The report additionally identifies the origin of these gaps and why they occur, and the business impact of poor requirements definition and management. The study was conducted across Tier 1 and Tier 2 banks with 50 IT executives and 50 business executives in U.K., Benelux, Nordics, Middle East & Africa, and Asia Pacific.