Envisioning - Creating a Single Vision & Avoiding Bias
Arc offers an envisioning service that facilitates an organisation to create a single unified and robust project brief. All too often there is a jump to drafting requirements and time is wasted in that (more expensive) stage trying to retrospectively create a tight brief and to resolve stakeholder differences.
Envisioning is a facilitated process that should happen before the requirements stage. It is very common for requirements to end up looking like a specification for the current system (albeit souped-up) because that is what people know and without realising it they end up ruling out new technology improvements because of the way requirements are arrived at.
A benefit to a specific envisioning stage is that it very common for stakeholders to assume that they all have the same shared vision and priorities for a new system, but this stage often demonstrates that not to be the case and that is fantastic as it is up front and before budgets and time have been spent.
A second key benefit from having a specific envisioning stage in a project is to allow for brain storming and ideas to be made free of the biases noted above thus reducing the chances of your new system drifting towards being an improved replica of the old. In other words it is a chance to identify real innovations and to step right back from 'how things are now' and think through 'what could be' before requirements start trapping you into decisions.
Being Arc Software Consultancy we are hardened realists so the aim is not to dwell purely in ideas, but to move through to a stage called 'realism' and (constructive) 'criticism' to test those ideas, and we do so by bringing in our real-world technology experiences too. That being said the art and skill in facilitating this is to not jump to realism too soon as this stifles ideas and very quickly the project can become flawed (in the ways described above). It is at this point and if facilitated in the right way that 'how things are done' can make way for improvements and sometimes big leaps forward.
Once you have been through this envisioning journey then that is the time to start a formal requirements stage. You now have a solid foundation; a single strategic management view plus the scoping/sizing for what scale of innovation you would like.
Talk to Arc for more on how you save a lot of requirements pain and no doubt budget by doing this first.