How to Elicit, Capture or Gather Requirements Effectively

Part 17 of 22 in the Series: The Business Analyst Job Description

Effective Requirements Elicitation Techniques

Effective Requirements Elicitation Techniques


What is Requirements Elicitation?

Requirements elicitation is the process of identifying the sources of requirements for a new system and obtaining those requirements from those sources.

Potential sources of requirements include users, documents, regulators and even legacy software code.

Requirements elicitation is a crucial part of the Requirements Gathering, Documentation and Analysis Process.

It is a critical business activity that requires the focus of a skilled business analyst.

Regardless of the elicitation techniques you choose or how you implement those techniques, you need to do whatever it takes to understand the real needs of your customers.

There are several requirements elicitation techniques available to you as a business analyst.

Keep in mind that your choice of techniques will depend on your comfort level or familiarity, the complexity or nature of your project as well as the stakeholders you are talking to.

Be advised that each requirements elicitation technique has its advantages and disadvantages and that there is no one technique that works for every situation.

With this in mind, you may want to consider gaining mastery of several different elicitation techniques so that you can successfully draw out your stakeholder needs.

Plan your Requirements Elicitation

Create a plan first before starting out on your requirements elicitation activities. Planning your elicitation activities ensures that you:

  1. Understand your stakeholders.
  2. Use the right elicitation techniques for each stakeholder or stakeholder group.
  3. Accurately prioritize the stakeholders and assign the right level of involvement.
  4. Allocate adequate time and resources to the requirements gathering activities.
  5. Adequately prepare the stakeholders for the elicitation sessions.
  6. Gain the trust and cooperation of your stakeholders.

Here is a list of Requirements Elicitation Techniques

Brainstorming

Brainstorming sessions are used to let the stakeholders come up with creative ideas or new approaches to a problem

Workshops

Workshops are facilitated meetings with multiple stakeholders.

Interviewing

Interviews are in-person, one-on-one meetings where the business analyst asks questions so he or she can draw ut more information from the stakeholder.

With an interview you can quickly obtain a lot of requirements from one person. However, you still need to examine those requirements to make sure they do not conflict with other stakeholder needs.

Surveys

Surveys are used to gather information anonymously from the stakeholders.

Documentation Review

This is the process of obtaining requirements from written documentation such as manuals.

Prototyping

This is the use of partially finished versions of the software that have been created to help validate requirements.

Focus Groups

Focus Groups are group interviews with potential and / or actual users where the business analyst discusses issues or questions or obtain information from the stakeholders.

Focus groups are a collaborative technique that lets you gather a lot of information. It includes a measure of brainstorming which is good when the users don’t know what they really want or need from the system.

Observation

Observation is when the business analyst watches the users performing their daily tasks and asks questions about their tasks or work.

This technique gives you the advantage of actually seeing what users are doing at their work as opposed to what they tell you they are doing.

Observation helps the analyst develop a real understanding of the user’s on the job issues.

A skilled business analyst should be comfortable or conversant with choosing using the right elicitation technique for each situation.

If you are not familiar with using some of these elicitation techniques, consider signing-uo for the Business Analyst Boot Camp Training and increase the value you bring to your organization by learning how to elicit complete, correct, consistent, clear, concise and feasible requirements.




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