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For many organizations that are neither software product companies nor system integrators, the expense and cultural change required for full process rollout can be prohibitive. Proponents of agile processes/methods (such as extreme programming) suggest that these "lightweight" approaches are extremely effective. I would agree that there are many powerful aspects within these approaches. I suggest, however, that by taking an objective-based business requirements approach to project management, software projects have a high probability of running on time, and remaining in scope and within budget. Addressing requirement challenges, independent of adopting a full process, can offer many of the benefits of full process adoption while avoiding most of the expense and human issues involved with full process rollout. A business-based requirements approach is an easy-to-adopt, risk-free entry point that offers tangible quality improvements. This approach suits any project scope. Whether building a complex system for enterprise resource planning or customer relationship management, or developing small, single-user software programs, defining business requirements improves any system delivery.
Date of Publication: Sep/Oct 2002