Join Terri Wagner for an in-depth discussion in this video Stepping through elicitation planning, part of Project Management Foundations: Requirements.
- You need to figure out what these new capabilities for your project should be. So from an elicitation perspective you're actually going to have to spend some time preparing for how to do it. Thinking about who you're going to talk to, what you're going to ask them, and what elicitation technique you want to use for each situation. So you need to have a strategy for your elicitation. How are you going to capture the information? Are you writing notes by hand, typing on a tablet or a computer as you listen, working in an interview team with one person asking the questions and another documenting during the discussion? Are you validating what you captured by asking something like, "Here's what you said, here's what I captured, "is that right? Did I miss anything?" As you begin your project you may ponder, "How do I get information, genuine, honest, "straightforward information?" "How do I ask good questions?" "How do I get people to tell me what I really need to know?" To help you plan, you may want to use an elicitation worksheet.
See the exercise file for an example. The worksheet can assist you in defining elicitation objectives allowing you to prepare questions ahead of time and help you organize the resulting activities. Recognize that elicited-requirements information is never perfect. The instructions on your shampoo bottle work here too. Lather, rinse, repeat. Completeness of elicited information is based upon our level of knowledge at any point in time. Understanding evolves and grows as the requirements development process proceeds.
Therefore requirements can be and often are revised quite late in the game. While planning for your requirements elicitation remember you have both primary and secondary sources of information. Your primary sources tend to be people such as key users, customers, subject-matter experts, system owners, developers, department heads, technical team members, and industry experts.
Where your secondary sources are often things such as reports or correspondence, training materials, training manuals, operating procedures, problem logs, existing specifications or user guides. In the case of our wind farm project there are several types and aspects of requirements to consider in your planning process including government and regulatory agencies and their requirements. The public utility commission, neighbors of the planned wind farm, environmentalists, local electric utilities and their customers and the technical experts in designing and building the towers.
Operational expertise should not be overlooked in the transition requirements as this wind farm will require a highly trained and skilled staff to operative the facilities as well as address the business side of things. You can find the case study for the wind farm in the exercise files. Remember proper planning prevents poor performance and our motto is, be prepared.
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- Classifying requirements
- Developing requirements
- Investigating requirements
- Documenting requirements
- Validating requirements
- Managing changing requirements