NAMIC Requirements Pilot Report
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NAMIC Requirements Pilot Report. Why do projects fail?.

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“The number one contributor to project success is user involvement. Not surprisingly, the absence of user involvement is a major cause of project failure. Even when delivered on time and on budget, a project can fail if it does not meet users’ needs.”

– Standish Group, Chaos: A Recipe for Success, 1999

“Opinions about why projects are impaired and ultimately canceled ranked incomplete requirements and lack of user involvement at the top of the list.”

– Standish Group, Chaos Report, 1994

“Lack of user involvement traditionally has been the number one reason for project failure. Conversely, the number one contributor to project success has been user involvement.”

– Standish Group, Extreme Chaos, 2001

wants to be challenged

wants to acquire knowledge

challenge: Low

science: Medium

What do you need to increase your knowledge?

Retrieving a pebble will not challenge me.

A pebble.



challenge: High

science: Low

I will bring you the head of a samurai instead.

I have no use for the head of a samurai. Your effort and skill will be wasted.



challenge: High

science: High

Yes, that would challenge me.

Can you bring me an eagle feather?

Requirements negotiation




This is a perilous mission. How will others know that you sent me?

I will give you a quotation to take with you.

This way others will know that I sent you.

This will also serve as a reminder that your mission is to retrieve the eagle feather and not to seek the head of the samurai.

“I seek the eagle feather. This will increase my knowledge” - 科学者

Use Case





I will consider my mission a success if I have grown as a ninja.

I will consider your mission a success if I have the eagle feather.


Win Conditions




NAMIC Pilot Method for ninja.

Agile Requirements Management

Project: Project description

Use case: Quotation with direct attribution.

The quotation should:

• describe the desired system behavior

• be written in the first-person (if possible)

• be written in the investigator’s language

• not contain any technical terms.

E.g.: “I’d like to do be able to go to an ATM and withdraw cash.” – Jane Smith, Ph.D.

Impact: Scientific impact rating from investigator (Low/Medium/High)

Difficulty: Challenge rating from engineer (Low/Medium/High)

NAMIC Pilot Method for ninja.

Agile Requirements Management

Vision: Common vision of goal.

Goal: Technical description of goal.

Team Members: Team should be as small as absolutely possible. Small is beautiful. <5.

WinConditions: Critical success factor and fundamental motivation for each team member.

If a win condition is not met, the team member will not consider the project a success.

Be aware of latent/ unspoken win conditions.

NAMIC Pilot Method for ninja.

Agile Requirements Management

Steps: Concrete steps towards project completion

Process Review: Aka: Team retrospective or postmortem. Quantitative review. Was this project a success? What worked what well? What didn’t work well?

Revise process accordingly for next project.

Steps to go Forward ninja.

  • Algorithm Core reviews requirements pilot proposal at next Algorithm TCON. Makes adjustments and votes on ratification.

  • Engineering Core designs Project Template for Wiki.

  • Communicate Method to NAMIC-all

Steps to go Forward ninja.

Develop Talking Points tied to NIH Priority Criteria

Top 5 NIH Priorities for NAMIC


  • Talking Points

    • How does this bring together biology and computing? (NIH 1)

    • How does this help smaller labs? (NIH 2)

    • How does this lead to New Science? (NIH 3-5)

NIH ninja.