Valid Requirements – RUMBA

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What are valid requirements?

Valid requirements are specifications set between you and your customer. When followed, they will yield a quality product. Quality means conformance to valid requirements, or the product we deliver meets the specifications set forth by our customers. These specifications are standards for out work and must be:

  • Current
  • Realistic
  • Measurable
  • Meet customer needs and reasonable expectations
  • Meet corporate responsibilities

In order to negotiate valid requirements with your customers, you need to practice the skills of communication and negotiation.

How do we set valid requirements?

The first step involves asking the customer three questions:

  1. What problems do you have with the present way things are done?
  2. What would you like that you are not getting?
  3. How ell do we serve you with what we presently make?

The third question is best asked by presenting the customer with a list of current products and asking for reactions to each element on the list,

This should provide you with a list of your customers’ wants, needs, and reasonable expectations.

Checking the valid requirements – RUMBA

RUMBA Diagram of Valid Requirements
Valid Requirements
  1. Consider a specific product. Get customer input. When all the customer’s NEEDS have been listed, look it over together.
  2. Initially, the “wants” (those which enhance the success) should be saved until the “needs” are addressed completely. Mutually agree on these items.
  3. Next, apply the RUMBA criteria to the list of needs. A need which meets all five RUMBA criteria becomes a “Valid Requirement”.
  4. A “want” which meets all five RUMBA criteria is also a valid requirement.

What is the RUMBA? The RUMBA is a dance for active people or an acronym for five criteria that you can use to confirm the existence of a valid requirement.

RUMBA is defined as follows:

Reasonable You or your organisation can meet the requirement (it does not violate company procedures, etc..

Understandable The customers verify that you understand what they are requiting from you or your work group.

Measurable The specification is measurable – in some way you can objectively determine the degree or frequency of meeting the requirement.

Believable Your co-workers will be agreeable to strive for that level of achievement.

Achievable You can meet the requirement. If not, you may need to renegotiate the specifications as facts and actual data may dictate.

To apply RUMBA, simply take each of the agreed upon wants and needs and ask:

Is this:

  1. reasonable?
  2. understandable?
  3. measurable?
  4. believable?
  5. achievable?

If all answers are “yes” then that one requirement is valid. Any NO answer implies the need for further negotiation until it becomes a YES answer. If it cannot become a YES answer, then the requirement is not a valid one and should not be accepted as such. Again, WIN-WIN negotiation and effective communications are the key.

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