Thursday, August 31, 2006

I start some vacation today...and boy, do I need it.

Has anyone ever distributed a Requirements document/deliverable to a team to get feedback (or prepare for a walkthrough), and have the main business user instead send back an edited version of the document with the changes they want, and then demand that it be the version reviewed by the rest of the team, or then flatly state that their version is the final version to be created, and signoff their own version?

I know that's a long question, but it reflects my exasperation with recent experience. I don't want to say more publicly at this point, but I have privately written a description of this experience, mainly so I could get it out of my head and move on. Its a fine piece of writing, IMHO, and I may share some of it at a better time, allowing for some distance first.

In the meantime, does anyone have any similar 'war stories' that they want to share? I have only one from the past, as follows:

In 20 years of Requirements work, I have only ever had one ‘User from Hell’, an underwriter at an insurance company where I worked 10 years ago. While gathering CRM requirements with 3 business people, using multiple day-long sessions, this person complained/whined about why this needed to be done, and would not accept questions about the business; she just wanted us to blindly accept her input as the Requirements. I eventually turned her attitude around on this, to the point where she was presenting/defending the Requirements to other people outside the Project. However, when a new phase started for which requirements were needed, she now thought she could do all the Requirements and documenting herself, and would not meet with me at all;. I escalated this to the joint Project Managers, one IT and one Business (which actually worked well...) and they decided that since the underwriter was a long-time employee and well-known for being stubborn, they would let her go ahead while I started work on another phase that did not involve this person. Well, the results were not good, and I had to re-work everything in time to meet the target date. At this point, the underwriter was just mainly silent but did answer questions when I had them. I didn't know whether she had grudgingly accepted the situation, or would suddenly 'go postal' on us.
Anyway, I had already been looking for another job for totally un-related reasons, and left soon after this all happened. The project was slotted to go on for another couple of years, but within a year, the company was taken over and absorbed by one of the really big insurance companies, so I don't know what happened after that. Underwriters are always in demand, so I know that my 'user from hell' probably survived it all or moved on as well.

OK, now its your turn.

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About Me

Ontario, Canada
I have been an IT Business Analyst for 25 years, so I must have learned something. Also been on a lot of projects, which I have distilled into the book "Cascade": follow the link to the right to see more.