Perhaps the Business is Really Asking for a 1/4-inch Hole

Not too long ago my IT team temporarily extended our monthly release capacity to fill an urgent business request that was multi-fold our normal capacity. Later the business balked at my suggestion that an equally urgent request could not be released that rapidly, even though it is many times smaller.
The capacity just isn’t there because of constraints both human and technical. But I wonder if this request could have been met with some solution that might not be apparent at face value. Consider the man buying a 1/4-inch drill bit. He really wants a 1/4-inch hole. So what does the business really want?
Sure they say, “What needs to be done in order to release these features immediately?” But what if I understood the business’s underlying desire? This I think is a key to solving the requirements dilemma of rapidity versus clarity.
Following is a sequence of questions that I think will guide the business and me to a common solution. Let me know what you think:
1. By deferring some of the scope until later, what do we lose?
2. Who feels this loss most (that is, Who is the biggest loser)?
3. What bad situation does deferral create for the loser?
4. What partial scope will most resolve the loser’s bad situation?
5. What remaining bad situation does referring the remaining scope create?
6. What mitigation will eliminate the remaining bad situation?


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