Learn about the iterative relationship between elicitation and analysis, and that when using the right techniques, teams can have powerful dialogues and lead to insightful innovation.
- Think about how a bicycle or a car evolved over the years. Both were iterative and incremental in how they got to their current state and both will continue to evolve. The relationship between elicitation and analysis is often a little bit of a mystery and also involves elements of iterations and increments. In fact, I see a lot of teams acting and thinking like it's more of a phase. Thinking that elicitation comes first in a phase and then analysis and this really can't be further from the truth.
What really happens is that we elicit to have something to analyze and we analyze to know what more to elicit and determine what still needs to be discovered. This cycle continues until we feel like we have enough information to get started in delivering value. We want to make sure that this cycle of elicit and analyze is done in a highly collaborative way using a variety of techniques to encourage dialogue, analysis, and thinking in others.
Some alone time to yourself also helps along the way. Many teams fall into the trap of reviewing documents or texts in a tool to get approval without really doing any real elicitation or analysis. Text-based requirements reviews don't encourage the team to truly analyze or innovate. Text-based documentation can easily nudge the team into skipping the true essence of elicitation and analysis. So, make sure that in the rush to document and approve, that elicitation, collaboration, and analysis is not missed.
I find that elicitation and analysis often happens at the same time, in the same meeting, or in the same interaction point; meaning that some of the techniques we use to elicit are also used to analyze. For example, when interviewing a stakeholder, I ask questions to elicit and while listening I connect some pieces that cause me to ask more questions. Asking questions is eliciting and connecting the pieces and discovering more questions is analysis.
So, for example, if I ask questions about a process and then I do a process model, I'm eliciting by asking questions and then I'm analyzing by doing the process model. Through the process model work that I do, I'm analyzing and I'm likely going to come up with more questions to go back and elicit more information. Then I model and analyze again and so forth. This is the iterative nature of elicitation and analysis.
Elicitation and analysis also require planning. We need to consciously be aware of the techniques we plan to use and are using. We also need to adapt quickly if one of them isn't working. Great techniques make all the difference. When you are using the right technique to elicit and analyze, your stakeholders are having fun together, everyone is learning and evolving their thoughts. The team is empowered to be innovative and serve the organization and the customer.
The right techniques to elicit and analyze bring powerful dialogue to the team, insightful innovation, and less rework overall.
- Define elicitation and analysis.
- Identify why elicitation and analysis are important.
- Recognize the key mindsets to make elicitation and analysis successful.
- Explore the role of brainstorming in elicitation.
- Examine the fundamentals for utilizing observation in elicitation.
- Discover the usefulness of well-run requirement workshops.
- Identify the elements of a well-done context diagram.
- Identify the elements of a data flow diagram.