Which Req do You Fill First?

If you’re like one of my readers, you only have two reqs and a perceived need for three people. It’s hard to know what to do, when you only have enough money for two people and want three (or any other case where you have N reqs and N=1 (or more!)) people.

Here’s one technique for determining which people you need to hire first:

  1. Write down all the activities you would like to be able to do for the work you’re not doing. Include all the development, testing, product management, support, etc work. All of it. Write one activity per sticky.
  2. Organize the stickies by function (affinity group the stickies). Put all development stickies together, all test stickies together, all product management stickies together, etc.
  3. Using a separate color sticky, make a sticky for each req you’re considering. (If you’re considering a tester or a product manager, make a sticky for each of them.)
  4. Take the stickies that each req would perform out of the functional piles and put under that req.
  5. Ask yourself if the responsibilities (activities) make sense, given what you need to accomplish. Can one person accomplish all that work? If not, put the extra responsibilities back under the functional area.
  6. You now have several piles. Each req has a list of tasks/responsibilities/activities/deliverables. Each functional pile has a list of things no one is doing. Look at the reqs and the functional areas. Ask yourself which activities/responsibilities etc are most necessary for your company’s success. Then you’ll know who you need to hire first.

You can also always ask yourself the context free questions that are the beginning of requirements gathering:

  • Who are the clients of these reqs? (What do they want?)
  • What does a highly successful solution look like?
  • What is that solution worth to you?
  • Why are these results desirable?
  • What problems would this req solve?
  • What problems would this req create?

I’m sure there are more solutions to the which-req-first problem, since these are just two alternatives (and we need to apply the rule of three to this problem :-), but these are a start. Let me know what other alternatives you’ve developed.

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