RAINBOW’s Techniques for the Requirements Elicitation

Techniques for the Requirements Elicitation

Eliciting requirements is very important in product development lifecycle. As such, the requirements must be complete, clear, correct, and consistent as they are providing critical solutions to the business needs.

International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) published BABOK, a collection of standard business analysis practices which assists analysts develop an in-depth understanding of core concepts and stay up to date with developments. BABOK, lists a number of requirements elicitation techniques. RAINBOW project supports five of them: Brainstorming, Document Analysis, Focus Groups, Interviews, Survey/Questionnaire.

  • Brainstorming, is a technique intended to produce a broad or diverse set of options. Brainstorming works by focusing on a topic or problem and then coming up with many possible solutions to it.  Facilitated properly (without censoring ideas) and executed with the right audience (representatives of each group, SMEs, stakeholders), brainstorming can be productive.
  • Document analysis, is a technique used to elicit project requirements information by studying existing documentation, and other relevant information, from industries and competitors that may have similar systems. It may include the analysis of existing system specifications, problem reports, and many others.
  • A focus group, is composed of pre-qualified individuals, whose objective is to discuss and comment on a specific topic. This could lead participants to re-evaluate their own perspectives in light of others’ experiences. Business analysts manage the administrative pre-work, facilitate the session and produces the report.
  • In an interview, the interviewer formally or informally directs questions to a stakeholder in order to gather answers that will be used to define requirements. Interviews are of two basic types: i) Structured Interview, where the interviewer has a pre-defined set of questions and is looking for answers. ii) Unstructured Interview,without any pre-defined questions, the interviewer and the interviewee discuss topics of interest in an open-ended way.
  • Survey/questionnaire. While they preclude the opportunity for in-person, ad hoc conversations, surveys are useful for quickly gathering data from a large group of participants. As with selecting stakeholders, a successful survey or questionnaire must have well-chosen participants. Surveys can be structured to offer open-ended input, depending on the needs of the project at hand. Survey wording must be unambiguous and precise.

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