Eliciting Project Requirements

Requirements elicitation targets gathering the right information to develop the project requirements.  The requirements for your project are the foundation for a solution that will be designed and deployed by the project and its efforts. 

According to the BABOK® Guide, the tasks in the Elicitation knowledge area begin early in the project life cycle and typically peak during the more detailed requirements development phase of the project.  Actually, I have found that requirements can be elicited at any point in the project life cycle, either for the first time or as the result of changes or things that have been missed or erroneously stated.

There are a number of ways to elicit requirements on your projects.  The most common elicitation technique is a face-to-face meeting with one or more of your project stakeholders to gather information regarding their needs.  However, elicited information doesn’t have to come directly from people. It can also come to you indirectly based upon your research and review of existing documents and other data.

The business analyst is responsible for adequate requirements elicitation preparation. On large projects, this responsibility often falls to the collective members of the business analysis team, who will be simultaneously eliciting requirements information from different stakeholders.  Be sure to coordinate who is doing what when, and make sure you plan for sitting down and accumulating what everyone has learned.  It is important to remember that any project stakeholder can be involved in requirements elicitation. 

Interestingly enough, I noticed that the BABOK® Guide has three types of elicitation techniques: events, performed work, and collected work. CBAP and CCBA exam preparers, make sure that you can recognize each individual elicitation technique and that you remember which type of technique it is!  This seems like a good topic for a certification exam question.

  • Elicitation events take place using one of six techniques: brainstorming, focus groups, interviews, observation, prototyping, and requirements workshops.
  • Performed elicitation work is done by the business analyst using the document analysis or interface analysis technique. 
  • Collected elicitation work is distributed and collected using surveys/questionnaires that are sent out to the stakeholders.

Business analysts are increasingly becoming the critical liaisons between business and solution development (oftentimes IT), so they must communicate and relate with equal effectiveness throughout all levels of an organization. Download this free White Paper to learn how to address common business analysis mistakes. 

Happy requirements elicitation!

Susan Weese

If you are considering sitting the CBAP or CCBA certification exams for business analysts, check out our new study guide that can help you prepare to pass the test, the CBAP / CCBA: Certified Business Analysis Study Guide by Susan Weese and Terri Wagner!  It’s a great place to learn more about business requirements and everything else you need to know to successfully pass the certification exam

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