I’ve been thinking about requirements a lot lately.  For my upcoming birthday I asked for a wheelbarrow.  For my business, I’ve been thinking about my on-line presence.

One seems simple and the other seems complicated.  However, as I have since learned, nothing about wheelbarrows is simple.  I simply want a tool to carry heavy bags of organic potting soil to by 25 square foot garden in my backyard that can be stored in my garage.  Easy right?  No!

There are collapsible wheelbarrows and wheelbarrows that can be laid on the ground to scoop stuff into and there are big wheelbarrows that can handle 100 foot trees or something ridiculous like that.

Result of pre-shopping?  I had to define my requirements.  Result of requirements definition?  We’ll see next month but I can reasonably expect a manageable wheelbarrow that can stand alone so that items can be taken in and taken out.

In thinking about my on-line presence the requirements may appear to be extremely complicated but the wheelbarrow requirements exercise has caused great focus.  Here’s a list of reasonable requirements for Answer Maven.

  • Consistent identity across networks
  • Easy to find information
  • Consistent blog tags that demonstrate my taxonomy ability
  • Accurate, current Professional biography
  • Clean, simple presence
  • Can be found

Those requirements are broad but they will and do guide my inputs into the Internet and my future developments of such things as my website.  (I’m about two weeks behind on meeting this deadline–must get busy.)

Many times, we don’t get or have what we need because we were not careful enough to set expectations and define our requirements.  When working on a technology project you must know what you want to happen and let the people who can make it happen know.  If something you dream is technologically impossible–the tech folks will let you know.

Product people, and this is anyone who is responsible for gizmos and content, must know what they want and communicate.  Without definition it’s easy to say you didn’t get what you need.  Success doesn’t just mean saying I want a wheelbarrow.  It means saying I want a wheelbarrow that can stand up by itself and can handle up to 150 pounds of cargo and can be stored in my garage.

If you are having a problem with your wheelbarrow technology, have you really figured out what you really want?

Constance Ard June 13, 2009