I am a project manager with three years of experience working as a PM.

We have a client here who has a pretty good relationship with our company. He sent us a web-project from one of his referrals which includes only 4 or 5 lines of high level specification. But he hasn't sent any kind of detailed requirements so that I can study his business needs and generate a questionnaire accordingly.

Senior officials told me to carry on further with making a Homepage since he is a valuable client. I don't have a direct contact or anything, I'm stuck and feeling the pressure of the senior authority.

Any solutions or answers to this situation ?

  • Did the client expect you to follow-up their high level requirements with some further detailed requirements analysis? Or did they expect you to build the site from 4 or 5 lines of high level requirement specification?
    – Marv Mills
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 13:56
  • I noted down this concern and passed to senior authority. From High Level Specs i mean the project scope sounds big but i have no detail of it. Obviously a home page is a main page, i am afraid of scope creep and i just told this to my senior management as well Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 14:23
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    I think you have misunderstood me. The client gave you high level requirements but no detail. Did the client expect you to then do some detailed requirements analysis, or did they expect you to proceed with the product build immediately, based on the high level specification they already provided?
    – Marv Mills
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 15:26
  • Your question is right, clients sometimes do expect to proceed with product build immediately, but sometimes it also happens people above you (senior level management) needs a project manager to start immediately and we get stuck Commented May 2, 2015 at 5:28

4 Answers 4


With respect to @mamoo answer:

For sure, the best is to clarify the requirements. Due to the fact that you don't have access to the customer, the internal stakeholder should be your first choice.

Unfortunately, it might be difficult to find a timeslot for some stakeholder (e.g. management) to participate in a workshop or in other technical work.

Try to get a decision by the relevant stakeholder (e.g. project sponsor), how to continue with the project. This might be achieved in a short and maybe informal meeting:

  • State your problem. Formulate it as a risk: The Web page might not satisfy the customer due to...
  • Provide a probability for the risk
  • Provide a qualitative risk impact and one or two examples, e.g. "The customer might think we are not able to build a sophisticated web page".
  • Provide a solution, resp. mitigation for the risk: You could get into direct discussion with the customer, therefore you need the contact details.

Having this, the relevant stakeholder can take a decision, e.g.

  • Engage the customer directly in order to identify the requirements.
  • Accept the risk and try to figure our the requirements "somehow".

If you're really stuck I'd move the responsibility towards your managers: validate the home page with them, write down whatever requirement is necessary and make it approved by one of your senior. If it's really that simple they won't have any problem to share the responsibility of validating this with you ;)


You have contradicting information in your problem statement. You first indicate that the client offered very high level requirements with the understanding that your firm would learn his business and solicit additional requirements. Then you indicate your bosses are asking you to skip that work and proceed to develop the product. It sounds like your client wants to collaboratively breakdown the requirements but your bosses don't. So your bosses are difficult, not your client, right?

If the effort to build this product without soliciting other requirements is being paid for by the client, then producing the product without working with the client to decompose the specs would be a huge mistake, a huge risk for your firm. As others have said, raise that risk. It doesn't mean they have to or will listen, but you need to put it on record. Then, do as they say.

If the effort is not paid by the client and the firm just wants to put something together to start conversations and maybe show off your firm's capabilities, then proceed. Perhaps interview some of your colleagues who may know some more detailed information about your client will help you breakdown those specs yourself with some degree of accuracy. After all, you indicate the client is well known to your firm. Since the client did not pay for it, then it becomes a starting point for the future requirements sessions.

  • I did not understand your point "...with the understanding that your firm would learn his business..." as I saw no evidence for this. However I have just realised you are internally translating "..detailed requirements so that I can study.." to mean "detailed requirements in order that I can then study". I didn't read it like that. I think this needs clarification by the OP. Specifically, was it the client's intention that their high level specification is followed up by some more detailed requirements analysis from the OP?"
    – Marv Mills
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 12:55
  • Ah, yeah, I see your point. I did make an interpretation. OP should comment on that. Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 12:56

Create an interactive wireframe/prototype with minimal effort

  1. As @mamoo pointed out, try to validate the requirements with the internal project sponsor.

  2. As @david-espina and others pointed out, make your seniors aware of the risk involved in building something without much of a clue what the client wants.

  3. There are tools available (e.g., Axure or Evolus Pencil - open source) that can build a quick interactive wireframe/prototype without any coding. You can zip it and email it to your project sponsor. This is very visual and your project sponsor can look at it and click through to see navigations, popups... They can also forward it on to the client for doing the same. Unlike a long requirement document review, this is a painless way to get feedback from senior management and clients.

This way you can get quick validation of your approach instead of investing a lot of resources and time into building something your client may not want.

  • Ashok, I think you aint got my point. I'm well aware of these tools, however if stakeholders passed you a project which is related to "airlines" management say. Doesn't that scope sounds big ? but the point is how it gona work like i don't have that specification called "user specific requirement document" so that i can convert it into technical jargon Commented May 2, 2015 at 5:35
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    OK. If any of the other answers helped you, you can mark it as an accepted answer. If none of them helped, and you found a way to deal with it, you can answer your own question. This will help others facing a similar situation. Commented May 5, 2015 at 14:23

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