I got a very tempting offer in my email this morning. No, a Nigerian prince did not need me to hold onto a few of his millions in my bank account. Instead, it was an offer to download a paper called "6 Common Mistakes in Managing Requirements" from Accompa, a group that makes software for tech product management.
Now, how could I resist such an offer? So I registered and downloaded the paper. And [spoiler alert] here are the mistakes:
Mistake #1: Requirements Are Locked Up in Silos
Mistake #2: Requirements Are Lost
Mistake #3: Requirements Are Prioritized Using Ad-hoc Approaches
Mistake #4: Requirements Are Not Verified
Mistake #5: Requirements Are Incomplete
Mistake #6: No Easy Way to Know the Latest Status of Requirements
It will not surprise you to know the solution to all these mistakes is Accompa's software. But I'm not here to take issue with that; for all I know, the software can help a product manager avoid all these issues.
I've got a bone to pick, though, with the wording of these "mistakes." Note that the first five use the passive voice. The passive voice is a vehicle to distance the true subject of a sentence from the action.
"Requirements Are Prioritized Using Ad-hoc Approaches." Who did the prioritizing? Reading this, you would think it doesn't matter. But if you've read through the information on this site, you will know that in avoiding mistakes, accountability is everything. And the passive voice is not allowed. In none of the stories here will anyone say, "Mistakes were made."
So, to the above mistake - the bigger mistake is likely that there is an organizational structure where accountability for prioritization is diffuse or unclear. In that case, ad-hocracy will rule the day.
If you really want to avoid mistakes, you can't approach them sideways, with the passive voice. You need to deal with them head on.
Don't make the mistake "6 Common Mistakes" did. Be accountable. You don't even need software for that.