In this project management tutorial Angela shares when it is appropriate to use interviewing as a technique to gather and elicit requirements from stakeholders.
- Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? You're talking to someone who is just simply in a different place. Or, you realize part way through you're talking to the wrong person. Or, perhaps you schedule a meeting and they don't show up. Has anyone scheduled a meeting with you and you felt it was a complete waste of your time? These are just a few of the many challenges with interview meetings to elicit requirements. There are many techniques we use to elicit requirements, and interviews are the most common. And if you are like most, you spend a lot of your time interviewing as part of your requirement's practice.
And, you're looking for some ways to make the most of this critical technique. Interviewing is not just scheduling the meeting and talking to someone. Interviewing has a lot of strategic elements to it. That when used correctly can truly get you great results on your project. To make the most of interviewing, you need to ensure that you prepare, plan, execute, and follow up in a manner aligned to the goals of the project's solution, and your stakeholders' needs. Interviews are a way to gather, discover, elicit, and learn information from a person or group of people.
Interviews are typically done by business analysts, systems analysts, project managers, product owners, or any one with the role of eliciting requirements. When new products, services, processes, or systems are being created or enhanced, it's common to use interviews to understand the current challenges and of the ideal future state. Interviews are also commonly used to understand and discover various detailed aspects of the current or future state.
Take a moment to think about what reasons you schedule meetings to interview colleagues in your work. Do any of these reason resonate? To gather information about a product, process, or system. Or, maybe build an established relationships with stakeholders. How 'bout gaining trust with stakeholders. Or, understanding stakeholder ideas and attitudes about a project or a solution. Understanding stakeholder needs.
Or, increasing stakeholder involvement and support for a project or a solution. For any of these reason you can structure interviews formally or informally, depending on the goals and your relationships. There are really four things to help make an interview successful. First, your preparation and experience as an interviewer. Second, the interviewee being the right person to be interviewed to meet the objectives. Third, the willingness and readiness of the interviewee to provide detailed information.
And last, the relationship and rapport that you build. When considering if interviewing is the right technique to use, there are some key things to keep in mind. As with any technique, there are strengths and challenges. First some strengths. Interviewing allows a very focused dialogue. It also allows those being interviewed to express feelings, opinions, and thoughts in a more private environment. It's really a great way to establish and build relationships.
And finally, it allows for deep discussion without worrying about others in meeting dynamics. There are also a few key challenges that you should consider. First, it's rather difficult, and takes great skill to do interviewing well. The results can also be misinterpreted by the interviewer. Often, the interviewee may withhold critical information, intentionally, or not. And overall, it can be time-consuming to prepare, conduct, and follow up with as many people as you would like.
As well as it being time-consuming for the interviewee. Interviews are a critical part of your requirements toolbox. And with good practice, you'll soon be on your way to using this technique to its potential. And, using your stakeholders', and your time well.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
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- Choosing to use interviews
- Selecting the right person to interview
- Planning interview questions
- Building rapport in an interview
- Choosing probing questions
- Listening and taking notes
- Analyzing and reviewing notes before following up