There was an interesting question lately on a LinkedIn group: “Requirements gathering in PRINCE2?” with as more detailed statement “Hi everyone. I apologize in advance if this question is posted before but I need to understand that when exactly do we collect detailed requirements using prince2. For example if we have to create an E-Commerce website for an external client then during which stage or process do we collect the detailed requirements. If I am not wrong, in Project Brief we only collect high level requirement, so should detailed requirements be gathered when creating the product based planning in IP process or is it more suitable to collect detailed requirements in stage 2 after the planning stage?”.
You also have this question? Here follows my advice:
PRINCE2 provides us with a project lifecycle during which each phase has a specific focus.
Starting Up: ensure there is enough information available to ensure the project makes sense. Do you need requirements for this? Probably a few high level ones; but the focus will be more on the objectives that need to be achieved and to determine if these are realistic.
Initiating: ensure you have a common understanding about the project. An understanding about the overall project plan is part of this. Depending the expected accuracy of the estimates (level of tolerance at project level) you will need more or less detail in the requirements.
Delivery stages: develop the product, but also plan the next stage. In the next stage plan you need to come up with a more accurate plan for this next stage. More accurate estimates means more detailed requirements. Not too detailed, but enough detail for having a realistic stage plan (to stay within the stage tolerances).
Then when do you get the highest level of detail? In the delivery itself. When the team creates the products they will have questions on the documented requirements , no doubt. This is the moment when the requirements get detailed to the implementation level. This brings the need to have business people available in the Managing Product Delivery Process, as part of the Team Members.
Through the above I strongly push for an iterative and incremental approach. I’ve seen PRINCE2 too many times being used with a waterfall approach. In these cases the requirements are to be detailed during the initiation stage. With as a result a huge initiation stage (and a lot of wasted effort).
PRINCE2 makes an agile approach possible. I suggest to make use of this opportunity.
PS. Be sure to check out our planned training sessions for PRINCE2 and AgilePM