Getting the right requirements from the right people at the right level of detail and the right time are the keys that unlock the potential for project success. This is true whether your project involves rearranging your garage or delivering a multi-million dollar Information Technology (IT) solution. Requirements define a proposed future so if they are not right, you will never get what you really need. Those responsible for gathering requirements for the software from subject matter experts have to elicit the requirements for the entire future business solution of which the software is just one component, albeit an integral one. Getting the right requirements from the right people at the right time for your project is one of the critical success factors for any IT project.
This 90-minute course defines the concept of eliciting requirements and explains its necessity. It defines and contrasts 5 specific types of interviews for helping subject matter experts discover their requirements. Since interviewing is not an intuitive skill, we also present a wide range of interviewing techniques and define the characteristics of a good requirements interviewer. To guide you through the intricacies of conducting group interviews, we dedicate an entire section to facilitating Requirements Gathering Workshops (JAD, RDW, User Story Workshops, etc.), a powerful requirements definition technique for cross-functional groups on traditional and Agile software development methodologies.
The class is an introduction to requirements interviews and will greatly benefit anyone wearing the business analysis hat in an organization. We use talking-head videos and “intellimated” content to present the concepts visually and vocally for increased reader comprehension and retention. There are no prerequisites for eliciting stakeholder requirements. Although presented in the context of IT projects, these requirements elicitation methods for facilitated and individual requirements interviews can be used by anyone, anytime to lead project stakeholders from the inception of an idea to the business requirements for a proposed solution
Evaluate the learning objectives and reason why you need this course. The instructor gives a brief overview of the course content and the learning objectives.
The lecture continues with a review of the evolution of business analysis and requirements elicitation (aka requirements gathering, defining business requirements, gathering stakeholder requirements, etc.). It also defines the challenges that those tasked with getting the right requirements from the right people face in today’s world.
The Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared", is one great piece of advice for your requirements interviewers. We discuss concrete steps you can take to get ready to perform a productive interview or workshop.
Initiating the requirements interview properly sets the stage for a productive and enjoyable experience for the interviewer and the interviewee. We discuss the importance of small talk and putting the interviewee at ease.
Maintaining momentum from start to finish in the interview involves multiple communication skills. We discuss the importance of 2-way, non-verbal communication and the use of active and informational listening techniques to make sure both parties share a common understanding of what each is trying to get across.
Having and using a common vocabulary during the requirements interview goes a long way toward improving the interaction between the one wearing the BA hat and the subject matter experts. Although the interviewer should not be more knowledgeable about the topic than the interviewee, the two need to share a common vocabulary to void misunderstandings.
As the one conducting the interview, the onus is on the you to ensure that the interview stays on track and achieves the desired objective. We introduce an Action Item List and a Question File as two specific tools for keeping the interview on topic.
Closing the requirements interview in style and with grace requires preparation. We introduce a 3-minute interview evaluation form that you can use on your projects to evolve your interviewing skills.
We introduce and describe common, critical characteristics that many who are great at interviewing for requirements share. We discuss the importance of being people-focused, unbiased, and knowledgeable about the domain.
Once you are in the interview, making sure that you keep the interviewee(s) involved and interested becomes your goal. We present three simple ideas for achieving that objective.
Learn how to leverage active and informational listening to get more out of your requirements interviews.
Recognize the factors that can impact your ability to apply active and informational listening techniques.
This lecture offers advice and concrete suggestions for avoiding the traps and implementing good listening techniques.
There are many different approaches to gather or elicit requirements. In this lecture, we introduce 5 methods for interacting with stakeholders to communicate effectively, from simple 1-on-1 interviews to formal Requirements Gathering Workshops. We also describe the simplest method (informal interviews) and defines its distinguishing attributes, relative strengths, and challenges.
A planned, scheduled, face-to-face requirements interview is one of the most common approaches for getting requirements from stakeholders. In this section, you will learn the distinguishing attributes, the relative strengths and challenges of formal requirements interviews and tips to help you make them more effective.
In this lecture we present tips and ideas to improve the quality and quantity of IT requirements when you are limited to email exchanges with stakeholders. We also present the distinguishing attributes, relative strengths, and challenges of email requirements interviews.
In today's wired world, you will often be limited to teleconferences, telephone calls, or web meetings for eliciting requirements from stakeholders. in spite of the numerous advantages of these modern means of communications, there are several pitfalls that can threaten the success of the project. We present the distinguishing attributes, relative strengths, and challenges of virtual requirements interviews.
Requirements Gathering Workshops involve a cross-functional group of stakeholders determining what they need from a proposed Information Technology solution. Although in many ways far superior to the more common 1-on-1 interviews, this approach to eliciting requirements is not suited for every project. We discuss the characteristics, relative strengths, and challenges of using workshops to get to requirements.
A brief history of Requirements Gathering Workshops will help put the technique in context. We also introduce a step-by-step approach for getting from project initiation to high-level business and stakeholder requirements.
The success of any Requirements Gathering Workshop depends heavily upon the work done in advance of the actual working sessions. We introduce the Planning phase (a common pre-workshop meeting and the critical Preparation phase that allows participants to prepare for optimal performance during the workshop.
Creating and maintaining momentum during the entire workshop are critical succeeds factors that require a person-focused facilitator and a task-focused session analyst working as a team. We discuss the individual roles necessary for a successful Requirements Gathering Workshop.
The work needed to cement the success of a great Requirements Gathering Workshop continues after the actual workshop is concluded. The Polishing phase of a workshop gives participants and the facilitation team time to wrap up loose ends and complete any action items identified during the workshop. The publishing phase starts with a final post-workshop meeting in which all open issues are resolved and the official results of the workshop are approved.
This lecture provides a synopsis of the topics covered in the class.
Tom has been in business analysis since long before it was called business analysis. He has over 30 years experience in the fields of information technology, methodologies, and business analysis. In his writings and lectures he strives for enlightening while entertaining. As a facilitator, he achieves results through inclusion and synergistic group-building. He has taught thousands of students business and systems analysis skills since the '80's and has facilitated hundreds of requirements discovery sessions under a variety of acronyms (JAD, ASAP, JADr, JRP, etc).
Angela and Tom Hathaway (previously Hathaway & Associates, Inc. and Requirements Solutions Group, LLC) founded BA-EXPERTS in 2011. As a team, Angela and Tom have trained, consulted, mentored and coached thousands of business analysts around the world for organizations from small businesses to Fortune 100. Hundreds of current and past customers include TIAA-CREF (Financial), Cathay Pacific (Airline), Manitoba Telecom Services (Telecommunications), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Hospitality), government agencies, and a myriad of organizations spanning all sizes and industries. Our training, consulting, and mentoring efforts have saved our customers around the world millions and can help your organization improve its business analysis practices