Look For the To-Dos

Have you ever seen something like this listed in a requirements document?

Financial analysts need to manage the month-end close process

If you’re like me, you may wonder, “what does that mean, exactly? How might one manage a month-end close process?”

The problem is the word manage; it can mean nearly anything. Without being a finance expert, you can understand that you manage a month-end close differently than you manage a summer intern—but, for some reason, we use the same word.

When I encounter a similar requirement, I ask this:

What would someone put on their to-do list to finish this work?

In this case, it might be:

  • Tally the accounts receivable

  • Tally the accounts payable

  • Send a profitability report to the executive team

Now we’re getting somewhere! You can begin to imagine what a user might do to complete those tasks, and how you can help that user.