The Importance of Requirements Gathering
Requirements gathering can be a monster of a process – ideas, comments, must-haves, criticisms, nice to haves and just one mores coming from all directions. So take a deep breath and try to relax…
Preparation, organization, a great facilitator, and accessibility are key to emerging from this jungle with the most effective, user-friendly system satisfying all client needs and more. Preparation allows us to lay a basic foundation of the information and resources we have, list the information and resources we need, figure out where to obtain them, adjust budgets if necessary, create documentation templates, and clear our minds for what’s to come. Organization should be present throughout the entire process, and this is probably one of the hardest parts. Particularly with a large project, it’s important to group your general requirements accordingly, schedule brainstorming sessions, and involve the right people. Too few attendees may result in an unproductive session while too many may result in an even more unproductive session. This leads to the need for one or more solid facilitators. The role is a very difficult one to play. No matter how intelligent we all are or how much we know, the overwhelming yet precious amount of information gleaned in meetings may be useless unless it’s constantly manipulated in the right manner. Don’t forget that pushing, poking, and bothering is encouraged – this could mean playing devil’s advocate, playing dumb, or asking the most basic of questions – do we really need this? Are we missing the point?
And finally we come to accessibility, or the ability to access the knowledgebase available to you. Everyone here welcomes constant poking and prodding, so it comes down to asking the right questions, getting the right information, and analyzing it.
These are just some of the ways to best leverage the incredibly talented team we have here.
The requirements process has a very high, if never-ending learning curve. Something can always be done better and it can always be bigger in the right way. This is a challenging task, and the process to get there should continuously build on lessons learned.