Requirements Gathering Workshops Go Virtual – For Real
Defining business and stakeholder requirements is tough enough; adding the difficulty of having to deal with different locations and time zones can drive you up the wall. You might have tried web or virtual meetings (whether or not they were called Requirements Gathering Workshops) to elicit needed requirements in the past but were unhappy with the results. What if you could get the critical business, stakeholder, and (potentially) solution requirements in less time while improving the quality? The answer is simple. Learn How to Facilitate Requirements Gathering Workshops in our 2 day class or let us facilitate your Requirements Gathering Workshop.
What are Virtual Requirements Gathering Workshops?
Virtual Requirements Gathering Workshops combine collaboration technology with state-of-the-art business analysis and meeting facilitation techniques. The purpose is to discuss, discover, analyze, and document requirements from a geographically and functionally dispersed group. In the workshops we run, BA-EXPERTS uses an integrated series of interactive, online sessions that build from initial project analysis to a complete set of business, stakeholder, and solution requirements for any IT solution. Add an optional onsite final review to ensure that the group bonds and assumes ownership of the deliverable.
What Does BA-EXPERTS Offer?
BA-EXPERTS offers experienced facilitation teams consisting of a people-oriented facilitator and a task-oriented interactive business analyst to run your Requirements Gathering Workshops. Our teams have conducted over 300 successful requirements discovery sessions, many under names such as JRP – Joint Requirements Planning, JADr – Joint Application Delivery (requirements), ASAP – Accelerated Systems Analysis Process, and others. Our facilitators have learned from hundreds of projects how to help the business community figure out what they need and how to express business, stakeholder, and solution requirements. Our experienced business analysts developed and enhanced web-based methods for capturing, clarifying, and confirming requirements as they are uncovered.
Pros and Cons of Requirement Gathering Workshops
The Down Sides
Not to mislead you, Requirement Gathering Workshops (like everything else in live) have cons, for example:
- People miss the face-to-face dimension (camaraderie, synergy, socializing – we are, after all, still human beings).
- Jokes and humor are riskier on–line (and never underestimate their role in human communication).
- Because you can’t read people’s body language (non-verbal communication), there is a higher potential for misinterpretation — both ways.
- People do not always stay on task in the meeting (unless they are well facilitated).
- Some people enjoy traveling to new places to see airports and hotel rooms they have never seen before (Go fly!).
- It is difficult for some to express their thoughts in front of people they can’t see (which makes the facilitation job challenging).
The Good News
Leveraging over 10 years of experience with virtual workshops, BA-EXPERTS has developed solutions for every issue that plague online meetings. We leverage the pros and address the cons to make sure that your requirements discovery experience is as pain-free as we can possibly make it.
So What are The Upsides?
In our opinion, these pros far outweigh the cons at this stage in the evolution of online meetings:
- Requirements Workshops can be held anywhere, anytime (as long as all participants have access to the web).
- You can schedule Requirement Workshops in short bursts spread out over time with different groups involved in each session.
- They offer a new dimension in instant, electronic documentation (capture–as–you–decide reduces unnecessary paperwork).
- Virtual meetings save a ton of travel costs (that should get the bean–counters on board).
- The previous 2 points mean that virtual meetings are environmentally friendly (that should get the environmental vote — maybe we should call them “green meetings”).
- They are safer by far (no risk of airplane, train, or automobile accidents if you don’t travel!)
- They are healthier (proven to limit the spread of viruses — the human kind, not electronic. Given the variety of bugs currently circulating around the world, this one alone would be reason enough to try this approach.)
- They are reasonably weather–independent (no more nights snowed in at airports, hallelujah!).
- They are considerably less intrusive on your private life (which should make your family happy).
- Nearly everyone has become accustomed to virtual meetings in some form or the other (the novelty effect is wearing off, fortunately).
- Everyone involved can access and share any kind of electronic material to emphasize the need for a specific requirement (or to refute it).
Virtual Requirements Gathering Workshops are the latest tool in our arsenal for waging war on incomplete and misunderstood requirements. If you don’t get the requirements right in the beginning, who knows what solution you will get in the end? With a set of clear, understandable, measurable business, stakeholder (expressed in User Story Format), and solution requirements (including potentially use cases), you can evaluate any solution the IT department delivers to validate that your needs are met — and that can go a long way.
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