Book: Requirements Elicitation Interviews and Workshops – Simply Put!

Communication Skills for Requirements Gathering on IT Projects

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Author: Tom and Angela Hathaway
Pages: 84 (estimated)
Format: Paperback and eBook
Publication Date: February 1, 2016

Also available as an eCourse and covered in an instructor-led course (live and online classroom).

What is this book about?

Do You Need Requirements Interviews and Workshops?

A lot of initial uncertainty at the beginning of an IT project comes from not knowing how to approach stakeholders to get their requirements. Should you interview each stakeholder individually or in groups? Whom should you interview first? What can you do to guide stakeholders to give you the information you need to formulate the right requirements?

Unfortunately getting other stakeholders to express their needs and wants vis-à-vis a proposed IT solution is a non-trivial challenge. On top of that, you might be dealing with cross-functional needs which complicates the task even more.

To meet that challenge, we propose that you need to hone your interpersonal skills, in particular your interviewing skills. If you have never interviewed another person before, this task alone can be intimidating.

Why Should You Read This Book?

Since interviewing other people for requirements is not an intuitive skill, this book presents a wide range of techniques for planning, preparing, and performing requirements elicitation interviews and workshops as well as polishing and publishing the results. It defines the characteristics of a good requirements interviewer to help you recognize areas for personal growth.

To guide you through the intricacies of conducting group interviews, it includes expert advice on facilitating effective Requirements Workshops (JAD, RDW, User Story Workshops, Requirements Gathering Workshops, etc.), a powerful requirements elicitation technique for managing cross-functional group meetings on traditional and Agile software development methodologies.

Specifically, this book will help you get more and better requirements by teaching you how to:

  • Define and distinguish five specific requirements elicitation approaches for interviewing stakeholders
  • Evaluate the pros and cons of each approach for your organization and project
  • Recognize the specific challenges and strengths of facilitated requirements workshops involving cross-functional groups of stakeholders
  • Select the right requirements interviewing mode
  • Prepare, perform, and manage effective requirements interviews and workshops
  • Use informational and active listening to capture hidden requirements

The presented material is based on our experience gained in consulting contracts with organizations of every size, from small businesses to multi-nationals and governments. These topics are the core of extensive instructor-led training programs we have presented to tens of thousands of people around the world. As a value add-on, many of the presented ideas are not limited to IT projects; they can improve the outcomes of all of your personal and professional endeavors.

Learn More Business Analysis Skills by:

  • Looking at our extensive course library for onsite or online instructor-led business analysis training.
  • Taking one or more of our virtual training courses (these primarily focus on the business analyst career development, but learning new skills has seldom hurt anyone).
  • Checking out relevant FREE KnowledgeKnuggets™ and explainer videos.

Meanwhile, please enjoy this book. We appreciate any comments, suggestions, recommended improvements, or complaints that you care to share with us. You can reach us via email at books@businessanalysisexperts.com.

Who will benefit from reading this book?

  • Product Owners
  • Business Analysts
  • Requirements Engineers
  • Business- and Customer-side Team Members
  • Agile Team Members
  • Subject Matter Experts (SME)
  • Project Leaders and Managers
  • Systems Analysts and Designers
  • AND “anyone wearing the business analysis hat”, meaning anyone responsible for defining a future IT solution

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • About the Authors
  • Introduction to Requirements Interviews and Workshops
    • What Exactly Is "Requirements Elicitation" and Who Needs It Anyway?
  • Best Practices for Requirements Interviews
    • Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance
    • Starting a Requirements Interview on the Right Foot
    • Performing under Pressure
    • Make Sure You Can Talk the Talk
    • Maintain Control throughout the Requirements Interview
    • Closing the Requirements Interview in Style
    • More Online Resources for you
  • Characteristics of an Effective Requirements Interviewer
    • Personable People Have a Head Start
    • Maintaining Momentum During the Requirements Interview
    • Using Active and Informational Listening to Hear Requirements
    • Impediments to Effective Listening
    • Overcoming the Impediments
    • More Online Resources for you
  • Helping Stakeholders Discover Requirements
    • What Are the Five Elicitation Approaches and Which Is the Simplest for Starters
    • Informal Requirements Interviews
    • Formal, Face-to-Face Requirements Interviews
    • Requirements Elicitation Using Email
    • Teleconferencing for Requirements
    • Requirements Gathering Workshops
    • More Online Resources for you
  • How to Run a Requirements Gathering Workshop
    • How Requirements Gathering Workshops Work
    • Planning and Preparing for a Productive Requirements Gathering Workshop
    • How to Perform During the Workshop
    • Polishing and Publishing the Workshop Results
    • The Business Case for Requirements Workshops
    • More Online Resources for you
  • Requirements Interviews and Workshops Wrap-Up
    • What Do You Do Next?