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Preferred Requirements Gathering Techniques - 1

By: Crestech

Preferred Requirements Gathering Techniques

Following are a set of recommended requirements elicitation techniques. These techniques can be used in combination. Their advantages are that they are effective in emerging the real requirements for planned development efforts.

Interviews
Interviews are used to gather information. However, the predisposition, experience, understanding, and bias of the person being interviewed influence the information obtained. The use of context-free questions by the interviewer helps avoid prejudicing the response . A context-free question is a question that does not suggest a particular response. For example, who is the client for this system? What is the real reason for wanting to solve this problem? What environment is this product likely to encounter? What kind of product precision is required?

Document Analysis
All effective requirements elicitation involves some level of document analysis such as business plans, market studies, contracts, requests for proposals, statements of work, existing guidelines, analyses of existing systems, and procedures. Improved requirements coverage results from identifying and consulting all likely sources of requirements.

Brainstorming
Brainstorming involves both idea generation and idea reduction. The goal of the former is to identify as many ideas as possible, while the latter ranks the ideas into those considered most useful by the group. Brainstorming is a powerful technique because the most creative or effective ideas often result from combining seemingly unrelated ideas. Also, this technique encourages original thinking and unusual ideas.

Requirements Workshops.
Requirements workshops are a powerful technique for eliciting requirements because they can be designed to encourage consensus concerning the requirements of a particular capability. They are best facilitated by an outside expert and are typically short (one or a few days). Other advantages are often achieved -- participant commitment to the work products and project success, teamwork, resolution of political issues, and reaching consensus on a host of topics. Benefits of requirements workshops include the following:

Workshop costs are often lower than are those for multiple interviews.
They help to give structure to the requirements capture and analysis process.
They are dynamic, interactive, and cooperative.
They involve users and cut across organizational boundaries.
They help to identify and prioritize needs and resolve contentious issues.
When properly run, they help to manage user's expectations and attitude toward change

A special category of requirements workshop is a Joint Application Development (JAD) workshop. JAD is a method for developing requirements through which customers, user representatives, and developers work together with a facilitator to produce a requirements specification that both sides support.

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