Spreadsheet Requirements 2 - Expectations

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In any spreadsheet project both parties - the developer and the client - have certain expectations of each other. If the expectations are not met, the project is likely to fail. When this happens, no one wins. The client does not get the spreadsheet application they wanted and spends more money than they expected. The developer usually gets the blame and has to defend its invoices just to get paid. Most importantly, the business loses because it cannot be operated in an efficient and effective manner.

Use this checklist to make sure both parties know what to expect from each other, that ensure that each party accepts its responsibility, and both parties are held accountable for their obligations under the development contract.

This is what the client should expect:

  1. The spreadsheet application will perform as expected.

  2. The developer will be on call to make changes as needed - provided the contract provides for this.

  3. The developer will understand the terms and jargon the client typically uses in the client's business.

  4. The developer, who is experienced in creating spreadsheet applications, will write the requirement specifications.

  5. The developer will explain the requirements and scope of the project - before the start of the project - so there are no misunderstandings as to what the client should expect once the project is completed.

  6. The developer will consider alternative requirements and implementation methods, and explain to the client why the developer has chosen a particular method to complete the project.

  7. A description of the features incorporated into the application that will make the software easy for the client to use and understand.

  8. A good faith estimate of the time and cost required to complete the project, along with a description of the process to be used for any changes that may occur during the project.

This is what the developer should expect:

  1. The client specifies all desired functionality up front.

  2. There will be no need for major modifications after the project is completed, as long as the spreadsheet application performs exactly as the client specified in the requirements.

  3. The client will ensure that the developer is fully educated about the client's business so the developer can create an application that works for the client.

  4. The client will be available to provide information as needed and to clarify the requirements if there are any questions.

  5. The client will be very specific and precise about their requirements for the spreadsheet application.

  6. The client will make decisions in a timely manner and always be prompt in their communication with the developer.

  7. The client will respect the developer's assessment of the cost and feasibility of the project.

  8. The client will prioritize the requirements so the developer can work efficiently and minimize total cost.

  9. The client will review all documentation and will properly test and evaluate the prototypes.

So take time before you start the requirements process to clarify each parties' expectations and responsibilities. Doing so will ensure a successful project, completed on time, within scope and within budget.

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