I am working as Dev team lead for an US based Organization.The requirements for the project has been written but those have many gaps. And also due to some Organization level decisions the requirements under gone changes and impact of those changes are discussed and not properly documented. Hence my manager gave the responsibility of getting Clarity to the requirements, document those clarifications and help the developers to implement right things .Hence I form a list of questions and send those questions to team who wrote the requirements and project manager setup a daily meeting to discuss those questions on priority basis. After the discussion I am documenting those clarifications in a mail and sending requirement authors for confirmation. This is the process that I have been asked to follow by my manager(Boss).

But as team analyzing requirements they come up with more questions. But the requirement authoring team lead is not very comfortable with these questions and the process that we are following and making complaints to Project manager and my boss. Though they(My boss and PM) know that there is some problem with requirements authoring team, they instructed me play diplomatically and handle him make things went smoothly. Hence I went to him personally and appreciated his help and apologized if I caused any uncomfortable and asked his suggestions, how can I make the things amicable. First time he made suggestions and I have explained what kind of problems can occur with only depending on the process that he suggests and why we are following the current and how the current process helps the over all goal. But I also ensure that I will try to consider his suggestions as well. I sincerely implemented his suggestions to a certain extent where ever I can apply. But still I heard from PM that he has some concerns and complaints about myself. I don’t know how to make him feel good about me and make him not feel offend or feel bad about my questions

Hence my question is, How to deal with requirements author team lead without feel offend and feel comfortable?

  • 1
    Take the role of "documenting." You need the information for the documentation, you need clarification for the documentation, it has nothing to do with your relationship. If that worker doesn't have the information, don't press it, just document that it is unknown and should be addressed by the business or process owners Oct 15, 2014 at 11:23
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    You explained your side of the story and mentioned that the requirements lead had a different process in mind but didn't mention the differences. Being that the requirements lead has that title let's assume they know the requirements process(might be an invalid assumption). What are some of the differences? It would be helpful to gauge if you are asking for things that aren't properly part of the requirements process and maybe should be captured in a different way or if this is purely a chain-of-authority issue where the requirements lead feels their authority/competence is being challenged.
    – Dunk
    Oct 16, 2014 at 16:45

3 Answers 3


It sounds like you have handled this as well as you can. You expressed appreciation and apologized for discomfort. You may just need to give him time to come around.

In the future, you might

  • make sure you ask him questions privately (no one cc'd) if you think the question might make him uncomfortable.
  • try a little self-deprecation (like "Sorry to ask so many questions. I know I can be annoying."
  • try humor ("I have only asked you 100 questions today, and I didn't want to stop before I got to 110 at least.")

At the end of the day, though, I don't think it is you that is making him uncomfortable but the questions themselves. You can't really control his reactions.


It sounds like this process has been set up wrong in the first place. Why is the development team lead trying to clarify the requirements when there's a requirements team lead? I'm not surprised that the requirements team lead is unhappy with the process.

I would recommend setting up a new meeting with all the people concerned to try to agree what your role should be in all this, and how you should be working with the requirements team lead.

  • I agree with Simon. Meeting needs to be setup with appropriate stakeholders ( maybe even just internal and not the client) and things should be discussed in the open. You seem to have done the right things and must stand your ground to project a no nonsense image. Jan 3, 2016 at 14:03

I agree with everything MJ6 says, and especially "I don't think it is you that is making him uncomfortable but the questions themselves". Given the fact that,

  • requirements for the project has been written with many gaps.
  • impact of the changes are discussed and not properly documented.

That says a lot about the requirement authoring team lead, who obviously believes that he has done a proper job already, and believed nothing needs to be further improved. Every single question you ask will make him uncomfortable, as each of them is suggesting requirement documentation has been done poorly previously. You can't change this fact so "you can't really control his reactions".

I don't think you taking the "documenting" role will help. In fact I believe it will agitate him more, e.g., documenting that something is unknown and should be addressed by the business or process owners, will sure hurt him if he has a big ego and believe his work has been perfectly done. Try not to be confrontational as much as possible.

Thus you need to be extremely careful when wording those questions, never ever use words like, gap, ambiguous, need clarification, etc, etc. You get the idea.

Even that might still agitate him. The best outcome is if you can create an atmosphere that you are working with him improving the existing document. This will be the least confrontational approach, if you can get there. Try your best. Good luck.

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