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Maximize Project Success with these Three Requirements Elicitation Steps

by Brian Rimes

May 13, 2015

Thorough requirements elicitation allows you to collect solid requirements and establishes a clear connection between the business case, project goals, and the project outcome.  Poor requirements elicitation and analysis will cause issues in the project and may contribute to a failed project.  What should you do to ensure you are eliciting and documenting requirements the best way possible to maximize your project success?  Three things:  Focus on outcomes, communicate with your stakeholders and keep the conversation going.

Goals

  1. Focus on High Value Outcomes
  • Focus requirements on the business NEEDS.
  • Understand how the solution will be used.
  • Don’t let stakeholders get stuck on “wants” or features of a solution.
  • Find out WHY a certain requirement is needed - this will help determine what is adding real business value versus “nice to have”.
  1. Communicate effectively
  • Learn about your stakeholders in advance so that you can communicate with them in a way they will understand (e.g. don’t speak geek to a group of customer service operators).
  • Use whiteboards, diagrams, and stories during requirements gathering sessions. Create documentation that is easy to read/use and include a glossary.
  • In most group meetings, only a couple of stakeholders will be proactively outspoken. For the quieter folks, ask them questions directly, or follow up with them after the meeting so that their feedback is included as well.
  • When you do get feedback, summarize what the stakeholder says so that you both ensure it was heard & understood properly.
  1. Continue the Conversation
  • Use checkpoints to showcase designs before you get too far into the build process.
  • Use and reference a requirements traceability matrix during your checkpoints to show progress and to keep the stakeholders focused on what the project has set out to achieve.
  • Ask for feedback. The earlier you find out a requirement or design needs to be tweaked, the less rework there will be – which will help keep the project cost and schedule on track with the original estimate.
  • Maintain a requirements backlog to add additional requirements and enhancement requests to.

This is just a start on improving your requirements elicitation and analysis skills as a Business Analyst, these three little items will make a big difference in your next session!