Every PM plays The Game. Every Development organization plays The Game. This time it’s not StarCraft.
As PMs, we listen to the Market and define requirements. Requirements are a sticky thing, too loose and we create variability in the product that may not meet the customer’s need. Too tight and we risk edging into design (“How”), robbing developers of their creativity, and possibly missing an exciting new solution to the problem that we hadn’t considered.
Why do we need to strike the right balance in requirements? Because of the 1st Postulate of Product Management.
PM must create a sandbox of requirements that Development can play in. Do you want a sand castle?
Or do you want a sand castle:
It is seducing to over write requirements and specify the end product in gory detail. Resist the temptation. State the problem through your functional requirements. Put the nerdy stuff in your performance requirements. Use constraint requirements to build the edges of the sandbox for Development. Constraint requirements are an excellent way to combat the 1st Axiom of Product Management. When you constrain out the easy solutions, you can force Development into innovation.
Don’t get sucked into The Game, it’s a no-win all the way around. Every Development team has innovation at their core. A good PM can pull it out. Use Follow The Leader, get the team’s buy-in to the spirit of the requirements, and build the sandbox with your constraints to create the environment for innovative solutions.