Projects fail when buyers expect sellers to know how their business operates.

When a company wants to build something the project usually starts with a blueprint of some kind. Because a blueprint depicts exactly what the company expects in every detail. Nothing is left to assumption or guess work. All the requirements for how the project will be successfully completed are included in extreme detail. Yet in my 30+ years working with companies who were about to initiate a business process improvement project I was never presented with a document that described how their business operated at the transaction level. In my case these were usually projects to acquire and implement some enterprise software system. As a software solution provider my job was to align a company’s functional requirements with the functionality some software system had to have if my client’s business was to run as it should. However, implementation problems would usually start when users proclaimed that the software’s functionality didn’t align with how they did their job. That happens because buyers usually don’t take the time, prior to engaging sellers, to describe and document the project’s critical expectations in all its phases as business requirements. We define business requirements as something the software has to do or allow to be done if the business is to run as it should.

Projects fail when buyers expect sellers to know how their business operates .