Seven Techniques for Gathering Requirements

Understanding requirements is one of the key elements for project success. Elicitation is the part of the requirements gathering process where you actually capture the client needs. There are a number of techniques for eliciting requirements. Your project may need to use multiple techniques depending on the circumstances. 


1. One-on-one interviews

The most common technique for gathering requirements is to sit down with the clients and ask them what they need. 

2. Group interviews

These are similar to the one-on-one interview except that there is more than one person being interviewed. Group interviews require more preparation and more formality to get the information you want from all the participants.

3. Facilitated sessions

In a facilitated session, you bring a larger group together for a common purpose. In this case, you are trying to gather a set of common requirements from the group in a faster manner than if you were to interview each of them separately. 

4. JAD sessions

Joint Application Development (JAD) sessions are similar to general facilitated sessions. However, the group typically stays in the session until a complete set of requirements is documented and agree to. 

5. Questionnaires

These are good tools to gather requirements from stakeholders in remote locations or those that will have only minor input into the overall requirements. It can also be the only practical way to gather requirements from dozens, hundreds or thousands of people.

6. Prototyping

Prototyping is a way to build an initial version of the solution – a prototype. You show this to the client, who then gives you additional requirements.

7. Following people around

This is especially helpful when gathering information on current processes. You may need to watch people perform their job before you can understand the entire picture. In some cases, you might also like to participate in the actual work process to get a hands-on feel for how the business function works today.

Knowing your audience will help you determine the right techniques to utilize to best meet your needs. You should select techniques that get you the most relative information and are best suited for the audience.



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