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What is not included

We’re very fastmoving toward deployment in one of my implementation projects and I find myself spending more and more time clearing what is included but more importantly what is not included in the project. But this is not just stating the mere fact “this is not included”, you need to know what the status of the issue is. In my experience, if you just leave it as not included, it will come back and bite you when it hurts the most. In order to avoid unnecessary pain, you should ask the next questions. Let me draw you the scenario.

– We really need X. This is included, isn’t it?
– No.

This gives room for that nasty bite later on. What you should do is say why it is not included. Was it cut and who made that decision? Was it never meant to be included and why? Is it planned for a later delivery? Or have no one mentioned this before?

The fifth habit can here help. Tell the person the facts of the situation but then it’s time to listen. You should ask why it is important.

The next step is to establish ownership and an action plan. Does the person in front of you take for granted that you’re responsible for this issue from now? Is that ok with you? If you’re not responsible, make sure that you share an understanding of who is responsible and who will talk to the person in question. It can also be s good thing to have an idea what the next step for the responsible is. Is it writing a change request or conduct an investigation?

Before you end the discussion, repeat that it’s not included, who is responsible, who will talk to the responsible and which next step we suggest.

– We really need X. This is included, isn’t it?
– No. We never planned to do this in this project. Is it important?
– Yes, we have C in two months and we need it for that.
– I didn’t know that but I don’t have the time to change this now. This could perhaps be handled in a change request. Who handles the change requests for this area?
– J does that. But there is no change request about this.
– Could you write one and send that to J?
– I don’t know how to write change requests….
– I can send you the template and when you’ve tested it, get back to me if you need help.
– Ok
– This means that this is not included in the delivery but a cr should be written. i’ll send you the template and then you’ll get back to me if you need more help before sending it to J. ok?

And finally, don’t forget to mention this the next time you meet in order to secure that there still are misunderstandings.

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Categories: Agile
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