EC: How to Run Requirements Meetings and Facilitated Workshops

Learn How to Effectively Communicate with Stakeholders to Discover User Stories, Features, and Non-functional Requirements

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Preview CourseDuration: 1.5 hours
Format: Online course
Author: Tom and Angela Hathaway

Also available as a book (Kindle or Paperback) and covered in this live classroom course.

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What is this course about?

How Can You Effectively Communicate with Your Stakeholders?

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 Take This Course?

Since interviewing other people for requirements is not an intuitive skill, this course 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 (ie. 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.

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.

Who should take this course?

  • 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

What Can You Do After the Course?

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

  • Define and distinguish five specific requirements elicitation approaches from one-on-one Requirements Interviews to Requirements Gathering Workshops
  • Evaluate the pros and cons of each approach for your organization and project
  • Prepare, perform, and manage effective requirements gathering interviews and workshops
  • Use informational and active listening to discover hidden requirements during interviews and workshops
  • Recognize the specific challenges and strengths of facilitated requirements workshops involving cross-functional groups of stakeholders
  • Improve your interviewing skills by analyzing the best-practice attitudes and characteristics of effective interviewers

Detailed Course Outline

Introduction to Requirements Elicitation Interviews & Workshops

  • Welcome to the Course
  • 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
  • Making Sure You Can Talk the Talk
  • Maintain Control throughout the Requirements Interview
  • Closing the Requirements Interview in Style

Characteristics of an Effective Requirements Interviewer

  • Three Common Traits of Effective Requirements Interviewers
  • Maintaining Momentum during the Requirements Interview
  • Using Active and Informational Listening to Hear Requirements
  • Impediments to Effective Listening
  • Overcoming the Impediments

Helping Stakeholders Discover Requirements

  • What Are the Five Elicitation Approaches and What Is the Simplest for Starters
  • Formal, Face-to-Face Requirements Interviews
  • Requirements Elicitation Using Email
  • Teleconferencing for Requirements
  • Requirements Gathering Workshops

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 Last Word

  • What Do You Do Next?
  • Finishing Touches for this Course

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