Pardon me for taking liberties once again and coming up with yet another off the wall title for one of my articles.  But this one is very real and another example of how life imitates project management.  You know...because we're all looking for those moments, right?  Ok. Maybe not.

So here's the situation.  My wife called while shopping and asked me to measure our 3-year-old daughter's foot with a ruler.  Ok, six inches.  She's at the Stride Rite store so she gets exactly the right size kid sandals for her.  We try them on our daughter when she gets home with them guessed it...they don't fit. It turns out she has a foot shape where her heel is a little longer than average - meaning it extends back a little farther making foot length vs. shoe size not a very good match.  Lesson learned.  Knowledge gained.

I think we can all agree that requirements can sometimes be a lot like my daughter's shoe size problem.  We discuss, we measure, we verify with end users once again, and then we sign off because all parties are certain that the requirements match the need precisely.  Then, halfway through the engagement we find out that something isn’t quite right.  Something just doesn't fit right.  After much investigation - usually expensive project budget-busting investigation - we determine that how we were measuring or looking at a particular need or issue wasn't quite right.  We either didn't have all the information we needed or we were looking at it with some unknown biased.  Either way a requirement or group of requirements were off and now we have to take corrective action.

Sometimes the corrective action is as simple as it was for us returning the sandals to the store for a different size pair.  But that is usually not the case, is it?.  By the time you've found this kind of problem, your project and timeline are probably in serious jeopardy.  Hopefully you can save the project from financial ruin with a change order to cover the work assuming your customer accepts some responsibility for the oversight.  But it's still likely to take some careful negotiations.