Requirements Gathering Assignment - World Tours and Travels Business

In various articles we have seen that software systems and extremely complex and we as human beings have certain limitations managing their complexity. Hence any one dealing with the task of requirements gathering and analysis should be first aware of these limitations and should be experts of using tools and best practices to manage this complexity.

Unfortunately the reality is quite different and we most of us are aware of the same as well.

You may know a lot of people who are at the customer's end gathering the requirements from them and sending to the offshore team for development.

  • Do you think they are the best people to do this specialized task?
  • Are they aware of the fact that they have certain limitations and systems are highly complex?
  • Are the equipped with tools and systems used to manage the human limitations?
  • Are they aware of the best practices needed to manage the complexity of systems?
  • Are they trained to be experts in requirements gathering and systems analysis?

We all know the answer.

In this article we will discuss the probable reasons why requirements gathering assignments to be conducted at the customers location is considered to be the most popular among Indian software engineers.

Generally in most of the streams of Systems engineering, the task of Requirements gathering means interacting with the customer, for which the person gathering the requirements has to travel to the customers end (mostly a foreign destination) which means extra traveling allowance needs to be given to the person doing the same.

Indian software industry has been mostly export oriented as majority of their clients were situated outside the country ie most of the times the person gathering the requirements needs to travel to a foreign location.

This traveling allowance, which was just a mechanism to compensate an employee for his out of the home travel, today has become a most sought out avenue for extra earnings for the employees and to visit foreign locations.

Courtesy the huge margins, the dollar - rupee conversion ratio and severe demand supply problem, the project managers use the Requirements Gathering jobs (involving overseas travel) as a way to satisfy or appease disgruntled employees providing them an avenue to make that extra income.

We all have seen cases where employees before joining a company enquires whether he would be send overseas, we have seen cases of engineers threatening their employers to send then abroad or to quit.

I feel no one will have a problem with people making extra money, but one should definitely have a problem with the fact that if a task which needs a specialist to do the job is done by a person who doesn't even understand the basics of Systems Analysis and Design, leave alone the limitations and best practices.

The problem is so chronic that if you ask a software professional to travel to the clients location in Chennai - India, he will have all the reasons to complain about, but the same person will be very excited to travel to US, UK or Australia.

In this industry I know quite a few software professional who are really good in the areas of requirements gathering and analysis, but they are not allowed to do this job, because they are not in the good books of the project manager or they are not able to black mail the manager enough to send him abroad.

My experience interacting with software engineers across multiple companies in India says that around 80- 90% of the engineers have joined this industry just because they can visit the world in this industry and with good likelihood also change their nationality and not because of their interest in software engineering.

This phenomenon has gone to such an extreme level that going on an overseas assignment is one of their biggest dreams and sent back to India is one of their biggest nightmares or risk.

I came across an incident in one of the Big Five Indian Software companies, wherein a software professionals was requesting his project manager to send him to the US because his wife was pregnant and he wanted his baby to be delivered in the US so that he becomes a US citizen by birth.

I am again reiterating, I am not against software professionals making extra money or traveling overseas.

I don't think, Software engineers need to be blamed for this.

Who in this world would not want earn extra money and visit different countries?

Similarly I do understand the constraints of the management of the software development companies...

But I will just request the Software development companies to ensure that the people allotted the task of requirements gathering and analysis should be properly trained to be experts in this phase of system.

I will also request the customers to look into this aspect as well because they are the ultimate losers in this World tours and travels business.

Hemant Jha
Founder - VPlanSolutions
Researcher, Trainer