How Do You Make Requirements Processes Environmentally Green – Part 2

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On yesterday’s post, I covered how we can reduce the use of paper in requirements practices. Today I’m going to look at how we might reduce the travel as well.

Reduce travel

The second area for improvement is in reducing the necessity of travel. With the globalization of the industry, there is significant travel around the world, for teams to meet to elicit requirements. In large companies, there is even quite a bit of site-to-site travel within the same city.

Remote Tools

In order to reduce our travel (local or long distance), we need better tools for working remotely with teams. Video conference can work, as long as it’s a reasonable cost and internet bandwidths are sufficient. The technology needs to be seamless (i.e. easy to use, no delays). There need to be whiteboard solutions that make it possible for remote teams to see the same work on the board as the people in the room.

Videos

There is a time difference issue when teams are globally distributed. Currently, teams often document requirements separately and email the thoughts back and forth. They might send documents to share or emails with questions and comments. One suggestion would be to use videos to capture each team’s ideas to share back and forth. The body language and tone would not be lost as it is in text. Obviously this has to be very easy to use technology, or text will win out. Ideally some sort of voice recognition would minimize having to speak and type the thoughts.

Team rooms

For the teams in the same room, having a team room environment can work well. For some period of time, people could sit in the same building and the same room and get a lot of work done together. This would include main stakeholders, subject matter experts, requirements analysts and even the development team. The company can avoid shifting permanent desks around by just temporarily locating them to this environment. They will have more opportunities to whiteboard solutions. They could keep lots of diagrams and other thought up on the walls without having to print them to look at. It would also minimize the need for video conferencing if they were to relocate for a period of time.

Today’s take-away thought:What are your current successes and issues with video conferencing solutions you have tried? Post your comments here.

It would seem that there are many opportunities that the requirements work we do could can be less environmentally impactful. However, I think much work has to be done on software and hardware tools for users to adopt such solutions.

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