KK: How to Run Requirements Workshops (aka JAD/R)

JAD/R Workshops Are a Fast-track Approach To Getting User Requirements from a Diverse Group of Stakeholders

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Author: Tom and Angela Hathaway
Video Duration: 12:52 minutes

This KnowledgeKnugget™ is part of a Book and an eCourse

Video Overview

Requirements Workshops set the stage for successful IT projects by getting the right people together to define Business, Stakeholder, Solution (functional and non-functional), and Transition Requirements. You can use a Requirements Workshop to elicit initial requirement statements for traditional methodologies or to seed a Product Backlog with User Stories for Agile development.

Video Transcript Excerpt

Use Requirements Workshops to Fast-track Requirements Elicitation

Hello, I’m Tom Hathaway, the man with the BA hat. In this KnowledgeKnugget we are going to talk about Requirements Workshops – what they are, how you run one, and what do you get out of it. This KnowledgeKnugget will help you when you are the one wearing the BA hat.

Requirements workshops have been around for a while under a variety of names and, of course, associated acronyms. You might be familiar with JAD (Joint Application Development), JRP (Joint Requirements Planning), JAR (Joint Application Requirements) or any number of similar concepts. For political reasons, the term “Joint” has pretty much fallen out of favor in recent years. We’re moving and trying to move the industry to the more neutral sounding “Requirements Workshops“.

All of these are approaches for rapidly defining the features, functions, and requirements for a business solution typically including an IT or information technology component. Since IT applications affect many diverse groups of people within an organization these workshops give all stakeholders an opportunity to express their individual needs and desires.

The name pretty much sums up what the workshop is all about. The main purpose of a Requirements Workshop is to shorten the time needed to achieve consensus within a cross functional group on a complete set of non-redundant prioritized and valid requirements that define all aspects of the proposed business solution.

Requirements are the holy grail of any change initiative because they define the future. They can be particularly challenging when you are dealing with IT applications as a component of the project. Getting good requirements is a non-trivial activity that may require several steps such as

  • defining and analyzing business problems,
  • creating and analyzing the business case,
  • creating analyzing business process models,
  • creating and analyzing business data models,
  • and many others.

A well-structured and facilitated requirements workshop coordinates all of these activities to produce high-quality, well-founded, and agreed upon requirements expressed in a format that IT developers, testers, and others responsible for developing the solution can understand and use. To ensure a successful outcome there are five segments to every Requirements Workshop.

  • Planning
  • Preparing
  • Performing
  • Polishing
  • Publishing

Each segment is critical to the ultimate success of the Requirements Workshop.

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