Improve Requirements Gathering
Back to basics: great products are built on great requirements.
- Poor requirements are the number one reason that projects fail. Requirements gathering and management has been an ongoing issue for IT professionals for decades.
- If proper due diligence for requirements gathering is not conducted, then the applications that IT is deploying won’t meet business objectives and will fail to deliver adequate business value.
- Inaccurate requirements definition can lead to significant amounts of project rework and hurt the organization’s financial performance. It will also create significant damage to the working relationship between IT and the business.
- Often, business analysts haven’t developed the right competencies to successfully execute requirements gathering processes, even when they are in place.
- To avoid makeshift solutions, an organization needs to gather requirements with the desired future state in mind.
- Creating a unified set of standard operating procedures is essential for effectively gathering requirements, but many organizations fail to do it.
- Centralizing governance of requirements processes with a requirements gathering steering committee or requirements gathering center of excellence can bring greater uniformity and cohesion when gathering requirements across projects.
- Business analysts must be targeted for competency development to ensure that the processes developed above are being successfully executed and the right questions are being asked of project sponsors and stakeholders.
Impact and Result
- Enhanced requirements analysis will lead to tangible reductions in cycle time and reduced project overhead.
- An improvement in requirements analysis will strengthen the relationship between business and IT, as more and more applications satisfy stakeholder needs.
- More importantly, the applications delivered by IT will meet all of the must-have and at least some of the nice-to-have requirements, allowing end users to successfully execute their day-to-day responsibilities.
Research & Tools
Start here – read the Executive Brief
Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should invest in optimizing your requirements gathering processes.
|Improve Requirements Gathering – Executive Brief|
|Improve Requirements Gathering – Phases 1-4|
1. Build the target state for the requirements gathering process
Capture a clear understanding of the target needs for the requirements process.
|Build a Strong Approach to Business Requirements Gathering – Phase 1: Build the Target State for the Requirements Gathering Process|
|Requirements Gathering SOP and BA Playbook|
|Requirements Gathering Maturity Assessment|
|Business Requirements Analyst|
|Requirements Gathering Communication Tracking Template|
|Project Level Selection Tool|
2. Define the elicitation process
Develop best practices for conducting and structuring elicitation of business requirements.
|Build a Strong Approach to Business Requirements Gathering – Phase 2: Define the Elicitation Process|
|Business Requirements Document Template|
|Scrum Documentation Template|
3. Analyze and validate requirements
Standardize frameworks for analysis and validation of business requirements.
|Build a Strong Approach to Business Requirements Gathering – Phase 3: Analyze and Validate Requirements|
|Requirements Gathering Testing Checklist|
|Requirements Gathering Documentation Tool|
4. Create a requirements governance action plan
Formalize change control and governance processes for requirements gathering.
|Build a Strong Approach to Business Requirements Gathering – Phase 4: Create a Requirements Governance Action Plan|
|Requirements Traceability Matrix|
Onsite Workshop: Improve Requirements Gathering
Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.
The slides in this Best Practice Blueprint will walk you step-by-step through every phase of your project with supporting tools and templates ready for you to use.
Project Accelerator Workshop
You can also use this Best Practice Blueprint to facilitate your own project accelerator workshop within your organization using the workshop slides and facilitation instructions provided in the Appendix.
Module 1: Define the Current State and Target State for Requirements Gathering
- Create a clear understanding of the target needs for the requirements gathering process.
Key Benefits Achieved
- A comprehensive review of the current state for requirements gathering across people, processes, and technology.
- Identification of major challenges (and opportunity areas) that should be improved via the requirements gathering optimization project.
|1.1 Understand current state and document existing requirement process steps.||
|1.2 Identify stakeholder, process, outcome, and training challenges.||
|1.3 Conduct target state analysis.||
|1.4 Establish requirements gathering metrics.||
|1.5 Identify project levels 1/2/3/4.||
|1.6 Match control points to project levels 1/2/3/4.||
|1.7 Conduct project scoping and identify stakeholders.||
Module 2: Define the Elicitation Process
- Create best practices for conducting and structuring elicitation of business requirements.
Key Benefits Achieved
- A repeatable framework for initial elicitation of requirements.
- Prescribed, project-specific elicitation techniques.
|2.1 Understand elicitation techniques and which ones to use.||
|2.2 Document and confirm elicitation techniques.||
|2.3 Create a requirements gathering elicitation plan for your project.||
|2.4 Build the operating model for your project.||
|2.5 Define SIPOC-MC for your selected project.||
|2.6 Practice using interviews with business stakeholders to build use case models.||
|2.7 Practice using table-top testing with business stakeholders to build use case models.||
Module 3: Analyze and Validate Requirements
- Build a standardized framework for analysis and validation of business requirements.
Key Benefits Achieved
- Policies for requirements categorization, prioritization, and validation.
- Improved project value as a result of better prioritization using the MOSCOW model.
|3.1 Categorize gathered requirements for use.||
|3.2 Consolidate similar requirements and eliminate redundancies.||
|3.3 Practice prioritizing requirements.||
|3.4 Build the business process model for the project.||
|3.5 Rightsize the requirements documentation template.||
|3.6 Present the business requirements document to business stakeholders.||
|3.7 Identify testing opportunities.||
Module 4: Establish Change Control Processes
- Create formalized change control processes for requirements gathering.
Key Benefits Achieved
- Reduced interjections and rework – strengthened formal evaluation and control of change requests to project requirements.
|4.1 Review existing CR process.||
|4.2 Review change control process best practices and optimization opportunities.||
|4.3 Build guidelines for escalating changes.||
|4.4 Confirm your requirements gathering process for project levels 1/2/3/4.||
Module 5: Establish Ongoing Governance for Requirements Gathering
- Establish governance structures and ongoing oversight for business requirements gathering.
Key Benefits Achieved
- Consistent governance and oversight of the requirements gathering process, resulting in fewer “wild west” scenarios.
- Better repeatability for the new requirements gathering process, resulting in less wasted time and effort at the outset of projects.
|5.1 Define RACI for the requirements gathering process.||
|5.2 Define the requirements gathering steering committee purpose.||
|5.3 Define RACI for requirements gathering steering committee.||
|5.4 Define the agenda and cadence for the requirements gathering steering committee.||
|5.5 Identify and analyze stakeholders for communication plan.||
|5.6 Create communication management plan.||
|5.7 Build the action plan.||
Speak With an Advisor
Get the help you need in this 4-phase advisory process. You'll receive 9 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership:
Guided Implementation #1 - Build the target state for the requirements gathering process
- Call # 1 Review Info-Tech’s requirements gathering methodology.
- Call # 2 Assess current state for requirements gathering – pains and challenges.
- Call # 3 Determine target state for business requirements gathering – areas of opportunity.
Guided Implementation #2 - Define the elicitation process
- Call # 1 Assess elicitation techniques and determine best fit to projects and business environment.
- Call # 2 Review options for structuring the output of requirements elicitation (i.e. operating models).
Guided Implementation #3 - Analyze and validate requirements
- Call # 1 Create policies for requirements categorization and prioritization.
- Call # 2 Establish best practices for validating the BRD with project stakeholders.
Guided Implementation #4 - Create a requirements governance action plan
- Call # 1 Discuss how to handle changes to requirements, and establish a formal change control process.
- Call # 2 Review options for ongoing governance of the requirements gathering process.
- Ben Dickie
- Douglas Van Gelder, IT Manager, Community Development Commission of the County of Los Angeles
- Michael Lyons, Transit Management Analyst, Metropolitan Transit Authority
- Ken Piddington, CIO, MRE Consulting
- Thomas Dong, Enterprise Software Manager, City of Waterloo
- Chad Evans, Director of IT, Ontario Northland
- Three anonymous contributors