Using Meetings in Requirements Analysis Chapter 14
Chapter Objectives • Learn: • Importance of meetings in needs assessment. • Preparation activities for the meeting leader. • Challenges to meeting scheduling. • Types of meeting tools. • Process and components to develop agendas. • Process to lead a meeting. • Types of meetings for the needs assessment process.
Why Hold Meetings? • Meetings bring several people together to reach specific goals within a set time period. • Needs assessment meetings can be held to: • Share and obtain project status information. • Create an expected deliverable in a working meeting. • Extract information from participants in a discovery meeting.
Meeting Planning • Meeting leaders plan to use participants time wisely by: • Preparing well for a meeting. • Inviting the right participants. • Defining the purpose and objectives before scheduling a meeting. • The meeting purpose should be specific. • The deliverables should be measurable so the meeting leader can determine if the objectives have been satisfied at meeting closure.
Yes, if: Multiple people needed to make decision. We need commitment from the group. Discussion is needed on information shared. Topic is complicated and could use meeting format explanation. More than one person needs to share information. No, if: Information can be obtained from SME. Objective could be handled one-on-one. Topic is uncomplicated and non-controversial. Information can be shared through other tools besides a meeting. Do We Need a Meeting?
Pre-work • Pre-work includes: • Preparing information to share before the meeting. • Collecting information from others needed for the meeting. • Distributing information to prepare the participants for the meeting. • Pre-work can include developing discovery questions for the meeting. • These may or may not be distributed before the meeting.
Participants • Maximum meeting size of 7-10 people is recommended. • Larger meetings can be more difficult for the meeting leader to manage conversation. • Larger meetings do have a purpose. • They may initiate a needs assessment event prior to putting the teams into break-out sessions. • They may also be used for sharing project status information.
SME’s • Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) are very important in needs assessment meetings. • They show and/or explain how the business or technical processes work today. • They understand the process in exhaustive detail. • They validate that the final solution developed satisfies the business requirements.
Short Notice Meetings The definition of short notice depends on your company culture. Notification options include: Sending email request for meeting Send a pager message Contact via cell phone Full Calendar Syndrome Occurs when invitees participate in meetings most of their work day. Options include: Determine if they really need to participate Define the needs and expectations for invitee’s participation. Contact invitee for potential meeting times Scheduling Challenges
Early Morning Meetings The time of day may pose challenges for some meeting participants. Consider the following: Is the start time reasonable? Can you give advance notice of the start time so participants can adjust their personal schedules? Global Meetings Projects with global participants introduce time zone challenges. Scheduling options include: Adjust meeting time to fit the international participants schedules Find common work times between both locations Scheduling Challenges
Scheduling Tools • There are many tools available to schedule meetings. • Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes are common tools. • Prior to scheduling a meeting electronically: • Check invitee calendars for meeting conflicts. • Give plenty of advanced notice. • Be careful not to double book meetings.
Pre-meeting checklist. This helps the leader prepare for the meeting. A sample list includes: Reserving the meeting room. Preparing the agenda. Inviting participants. Reserve audio-visual equipment if necessary. Prepare pre-work materials. Action items list. This is created during a meeting to capture action items based on the discussion. The components include: Action to be taken or issue to be resolved. Owner who will execute action or resolve issue. Due date for action or issue. Meeting Lists
Ground Rules • Ground rules are often used in longer meetings to assist controlling the discussion. • Sample rules could include: • One conversation at a time. • Respect other views. • Everyone participates. • No foul language. • Conversations remain in the room.
Flip Charts • Flip charts are used to capture lists and diagrams. They are: • A visual reminder to the meeting participants. • Useful to trigger thoughts for discussion. • Flip chart paper is available in adhesive and non-adhesive formats. • Determine if you need tape or thumbtacks before your meeting for the non-adhesive paper!
Agenda Purpose • An agenda: • Provides an outline to the meeting leader and participants. • Informs participants of the discussion topics before the meeting. • Sets expectations for meeting purpose and expected deliverables.
Agenda Recommendations • A good agenda can be developed if: • The meeting leader solicits topics and deliverables from team members for agenda development. • The agenda length is 1 to 2 pages long. • Time limits for discussion topics are listed.
Annotated Agenda • The annotated agenda is a very detailed agenda. • It is used by the meeting leader and scribe. • It expands the agenda to ensure all details are covered in a meeting.
Annotated Agenda Components • Components of the annotated agenda could include: • Purpose or high-level discussion topic. • Time expectation. • Who participates. • Detailed discussion topics. • Documentation needed. • Facilitation materials needed for topic. • Deliverables.
Leading the Meeting • Follow the agenda to lead the meeting. • Then: • Check for understanding during the meeting to ensure participants are clear on the discussion. • Encourage full participation by including everyone in the discussion. • Table issues if necessary to move the discussion forward. • Give the participants breaks during long meetings.
Remote Meetings • Telephone conference calls. • Use to reduce the need for participants to travel. • Challenges: • Cannot read body language of remote participants. • Video conference calls. • Use as an alternative for face-to-face meetings. • Challenges: • Interaction can be difficult when one side of the call dominates the conversation.
Developing the Agenda • Introductions. • This should be the first item on a meeting agenda. • Necessary when new people are introduced to a project. • Not necessary when the same group of people meets regularly. More…
Developing the Agenda • Meeting purpose and objectives. • This clarifies why the group is meeting and what they plan to accomplish in the meeting. • Sample objectives could include: • Develop a detailed process flow of the business area. • Determine technical alternatives for architecture solution. More…
Developing the Agenda • Covering background material. • Include this topic on the agenda to review additional information with the meeting participants prior to formal topic discussions. • This can bring all the participants to a similar knowledge level. More…
Developing the Agenda • Gathering requirements. • This is the core discussion in the agenda. • Begin with a high-level overview and then expand into more detailed analysis. • Use diagrams to represent information. • Use discovery questions to lead the discussion. • Adjust the direction of the questions based on the answers received. • Document the outcome from this discussion. More…
Developing the Agenda • Requirements review. • This is another type of core discussion topic. • The process includes: • Assemble the right group of people for the review. • The analyst who documented the requirements presents the material to the group. • The group asks questions and the analyst answers. • The group looks for holes in the document. • The analyst makes list of next steps for document. More…
Developing the Agenda • Design walkthrough. • This is another core discussion topic. • It applies the same concepts as the requirements review except it focuses on design. More…
Developing the Agenda • Review lists and make assignments. • This activity walks the group through the open item and parking lot lists, identifies owners, and assigns due dates. • Closing and wrap-up. • This is a short segment to review next steps and thank the participants.
Summary • Interviewing is a tool to collect information. • Interviews require preparation activities to be successful. • Questions can be open-ended, closed, or probes. • There are potential pitfalls to avoid with question development. • Questions can be arranged in pyramid, funnel, or diamond-shaped structures. • Joint application design (JAD) provides an alternative and additional benefits to the 1-on-1 interview process.
Summary • Meetings help the project team achieve specific goals in a set time period. • Agenda’s and planning are critical to a meeting success. • The number of meeting participants should be contained to a manageable size. • Scheduling meetings can be challenging based on full schedules, late notice, global locations, or meeting times. • Tools such as electronic calendaring, lists, flip charts and ground rules can assist the meeting leader. • Meetings should follow a standard structure.