Susan’s Top 25 Questions to Ask Your Users

Ever find it difficult to understand what your users are doing and what they need from your new solution?  You need to ask questions, observe their actions and use any means necessary to get this understanding and deliver a solution that meets their needs. I have a set of my top 25 generic questions to ask your users as part of your requirements elicitation efforts:

  1. What are the specific, measurable objectives and deliverables for this effort?
  2. What are the business functions and high-level processes of the organization?  How will they change?
  3. Are there any needs and problems of the organization relative to this project?
  4. Can you provide us with a brief summary of your mission, strategy, and operations?
  5. What are the roles and responsibilities in the organization?  Will they change?
  6. Are there any constraints to consider, such as time, budget, resources, or compatibility?
  7. Are there any long-range plans or direction that may impact this project?
  8. Describe your user groups for this project. How do your users operate within the organization?
  9. Any unique ways of doing business that we need to be aware of?
  10. What are your key relationships with other organizations?
  11. Are there any obstacles to success in your organization?
  12. What are the most important activities of the organization?
  13. What are the organization’s business priorities?
  14. Are there any legal regulations, guidelines, or standards that the organization follows?
  15. Are there any existing systems that might be impacted or involved with our project?
  16. How will the organization measure the success of this project?
  17. Do you have any concerns about this project?
  18. Who is the customer for this project?
  19. Are there any additional stakeholder roles and responsibilities to define?
  20. Are there specific documents that you require for this project?  What are they?
  21. Within the scope of the proposed project effort, what are the most important activities a new system should address?
  22. Which of your needs is most important? Which should be met first?
  23. If you could change two or three things about your existing operation, what would you change? Why?
  24. What better, new, or different information do you need to do your job? 
  25. From your point of view, what are the key new requirements for this project? Why?

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 users and happy holidays!

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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