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Guide to Requirements Gathering. Contents. What is requirements gathering? Why requirements gathering is key Requirements gathering activities Interview or workshop? The six key question types The magic qualifier Identifying significance The ‘Columbo’ technique Develop SMART requirements

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contents
Contents
  • What is requirements gathering?
  • Why requirements gathering is key
  • Requirements gathering activities
  • Interview or workshop?
  • The six key question types
  • The magic qualifier
  • Identifying significance
  • The ‘Columbo’ technique
  • Develop SMART requirements
  • The next steps
  • Further assistance
what is requirements gathering
What is requirements gathering?
  • The collection of a set of statements which define what needs to be provided by a solution to meet the expectations of the sponsor, stakeholders and users.
  • The collection of requirements is obtained by interviews, RAP sessions and/or workshops.

Requirements gathering is used in:

  • Producing the business requirements.
  • Producing the functional requirements.
why requirements gathering is key
Why requirements gathering is key
  • If the requirements are incorrectly, inaccurately or incompletely specified there is little chance the solution will be what is needed.
  • Requirements are the basis on which potential solutions are assessed.
  • Requirements identify what is needed. They are not the solution, rather they provide definition of what the solution needs to address.
requirements gathering activities
Requirements gathering activities
  • Identify the people who can determine the requirements. They must have knowledge of the business need.
  • Hold requirements gathering workshops and interviews.
  • Obtain and analyse any relevant documentation.
  • Document the requirements.
  • Circulate requirements for review and feedback.
  • Make updates and seek sign-off.
interview or workshop
Interview or workshop?
  • Workshop when:
    • requirements are high level
    • requirements are focused on one area of business in which the participants have knowledge
    • consensus is being sought
  • Interview when:
    • requirements are detailed
    • requirements cover many areas of knowledge that have specific individuals who are the experts
    • differing opinions are likely or are sought
the six key question types
The six key question types
  • What?
  • Why?
  • When?
  • How?
  • Where?
  • Who?

“I keep six honest serving men

(They taught me all I knew);

Their names are What and Why and When

And How and Where and Who.”

...Rudyard Kipling.

Ask the right questions!

the magic qualifier
The magic qualifier

“Specifically…”

To elicit more details add this word to the question.

For example: if told “we then approve the application” ask “How specifically do you approve the application?”

This will help to obtain better quality information.

identifying significance
Identifying significance
  • To determine the overall significance of the requirements ask:“What is important to you in…”For example: if the requirement is to improve the current enrolment process you can ask “What is important to you in the existing process that you would want to maintain in the new process?”
  • To determine the relative significance of each requirement ask:“Which is more important to you…”
the columbo technique
The ‘Columbo’ technique
  • The Business Analyst is the project’s detective.
  • Anyone who has watched the popular TV show Columbo will recognise the style of questioning used by Columbo, which is to act as if you are not fully understanding and ask the person to explain.
  • This approach usually puts the person at ease, encourages them to provide more details, and avoids making assumptions.
develop smart requirements
Develop SMART requirements…
  • Specific –clearly states what is required
  • Measurable – to confirm when it has been met
  • Achievable – can be done, eg. technically possible
  • Realistic – is reasonable, eg. cost is not prohibitive
  • Timely – achievable within an acceptable timeframe.

Make sure the requirement is:

If the requirements do not conform to these criteria the Business Analyst must discuss this and reach agreement with the requester.

the next steps
The next steps
  • Business requirements are recorded in the business requirements document and are used to assess potential solutions as specified in the solutions definition document.
  • Functional requirements are recorded in the functional requirements document and are used to produce the functional specifications.
further assistance
Further assistance…

For additional supporting guides see…

  • Guide to Communicating
  • Guide to Interviewing
  • Guide to Conducting Meetings and RAP Sessions