Making Vague Requirements Concrete

A friend on Twitter asked what you should do when you are presented with a list of vague requirements for a new website that shows no evidence of priority, intent or coherence. The proverbiale laundry list of features with no strategic context.

I offer two solutions for you:

1: The best and most effective thing you can is to hire me to help you draw forth breakthrough results from the chaos.

2: Alternatively, do the following:

Vague requirements shows a lack of prioritization which is an indicator that the higher level goals of the organization were not considered or leveraged effectively when planning the new site.

A website must contribute value to your top-line goals in some fashion if you want it to contribute breakthrough results online. Use those top-line goals to determine what outcomes the site must achieve. If you have a bunch, prioritize them from highest to lowest value. Then use those outcomes to determine and prioritize the functionality the site must provide. It’s that simple.

The actions:

  • Determine top-level goals with senior executives.
  • Identify outcomes the site can contribute to those goals with senior executives and web staff.
  • Prioritize those outcomes.
  • Identify functionality required to serve those outcomes (and your audiences).
  • Go forth and execute with your newly honed requirements.

There is more to it than that but that gives you the broad outlines. My book, Online and On Mission: Practical Web Strategy for Breakthrough Results, is a great resource if you want to get very good at this process.

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