7 Ways to Improve Your Requirements Elicitation Skills
Getting the right requirements from the right people at the right time for your project is a critical success factor for any IT project. Nearly every study over the past 40 years has pinpointed missing and misunderstood IT requirements as the primary cause of IT project failures and overruns. “Requirements Elicitation Techniques – Simply Put!” presents 7 requirements definition techniques that evolved from our work with customers to meet that specific challenge.
This course is a continuation of our Requirements Elicitation series. The previously published course “Requirements Elicitation Interviews and Workshops – Simply Put” deals with soft skills (i.e. how to run a requirements workshop) needed to elicit requirements.
This course defines the concept of requirements elicitation and explains why it is necessary. It presents specific business analysis techniques for identifying stakeholders, analyzing relevant business problems, helping stakeholders discover what they need and want the solution to deliver, and a set of key questions you need answered to initiate and manage the elicitation process. Applying these techniques will significantly improve your requirements elicitation outcomes.
“Requirements Elicitation Techniques – Simply Put!” will help practicing business analysts, future business analysts, subject matter experts, managers, product owners, project managers, and anyone responsible for getting the right requirements from the right people.
You will learn how to:
- Identify potential stakeholders early in the project
- Manage the requirements elicitation process with a Question File
- Recognize, track, and report progress toward requirements completion
- Define, document, and analyze business problems to ferret out hidden requirements
- Facilitate effective requirements brainstorming sessions to uncover additional requirements
- Use 10 critical questions to initiate the requirements elicitation process
- Capture and communicate assumptions about your requirements
- Avoid “analysis paralysis” by recognizing when it is time to stop eliciting and start deciding
- Subject Matter Experts (SME)
- Agile Product Owners
- Business Process Managers
- Business Process Users
- Project Leaders and Managers
- Business Analysts
- Business Architects
- Systems Analysts
- Software Testers
- Business Architects
- User liaison personnel
- AND “anyone wearing the business analysis hat”, meaning anyone responsible for defining what a project should deliver will benefit from this class. Although it is directed toward Information Technology projects, all of the techniques will benefit you on any project, professional or personal.
1. Introduction to Requirements Elicitation Techniques
Every analysis of IT projects over the past seventy-plus years identifies missing and misunderstood requirements as the major cause of project overruns and failures. In this section, the instructor, Tom Hathaway, describes several factors that contribute to the challenge. He also explains what you will learn in this course to conquer these challenges.
- Welcome to the Course Free Preview
2. Managing Requirements Elicitation with a Question File
Two of the biggest challenges for the one tasked with requirements elicitation for an IT project are, “Where do I start?” and “How do I know when I’m done?” A simple concept we call the “Question File” is one of the best techniques we know for managing requirements elicitation. Learn how to embrace uncertainty and leverage it to start your project off on the right foot.
- A Question File Quantifies Uncertainty
- Discovering What You Do Not Know
- Minimal Layout of the Question File
- Using a Question File to Combat Analysis Paralysis Free Preview
3. Identifying Stakeholders for Requirements Discovery
Having the right project stakeholders will make or break your project. Start identifying stakeholders from the beginning of the project and continue throughout. In this section, you will learn how to identify different types of stakeholders from Internal and External Users to Creators and Special Interest Groups such as the Legal Department, Auditors, Finance, Compliance, etc.
- Missing Stakeholders Means Missing Requirements
- Identifying Stakeholders on an Org Chart
- Creating and Maintaining a Stakeholder List
4. Problem Analysis Initiates Requirements Gathering
Analyzing problems that the business community has with their current business systems is an essential part of gathering requirements. Our approach to Business Problem Analysis identifies the “Real” problem and seeds an initial list of potential requirement statements as a start to requirements discovery. By initiating the project with a problem list you are setting the stage for success.
- Collect Problems from ALL Stakeholders
- A Well-Structured Problem List
- A Simple Problem Analysis Technique
- Will the Real Problem Please Stand Out
5. Requirements Brainstorming
Requirements brainstorming can be impressive. For example, in one 10-minute brainstorming session during a Requirements Gathering Workshop, we identified 128 specific stakeholder requirements for a mission-critical application. How can you achieve similar results? Learn how to prepare and conduct effective requirements brainstorming sessions to get initial requirements for your project.
- To Brainstorm or Not to Brainstorm
- Preparing the Session and the Participants
- Maintaining Momentum from Start to Finish
- Post-Session Steps and Lessons Learned
6. Ten Quick Questions Guide Requirements Discovery
Preparing questions for which you need answers is critical to the success of your requirements interviews. For starters, we have collected a set of what we consider critical questions. If you do not ask these questions, you run the risk of missing critical requirements. The questions are recursive, meaning you can ask them repeatedly throughout the project at ever-increasing levels of detail.
- Introduction to the Quick Ten Free Preview
- Discovering Functional Requirements
- Getting Non-Functional Requirements
- Capturing Constraints
- Using the Quick Ten
7. Requirements Elicitation Techniques Wrap-up
In closing the course, the instructor reviews the presented techniques (Identifying Stakeholders, Managing Requirements Elicitation, Problem Analysis, Requirements Brainstorming, and the Quick Ten) with the rationale for each. He also provides a “Personal Improvement Plan” that will help you integrate the techniques into your daily life.
- Recap and Rationale of Covered Topics Free Preview
- What Do You Do Next?