PMP® Exam Prep Project Management Training - Creative Ways to Collect Requirements - This knowledge is current (2-13-16)
by Mo Haque, MSEE, MSEE, PMP
Requirements collection for any project is an art and science. A project manager may use tools and techniques, which is science; however his / her experience and knowledge also plays a pivotal role in requirements elicitation. Here are some of the creative ways to elicit requirements:Review As-Is Processes:
During this activity identify the pain points and identify bottlenecks in a workflow. A workflow consists of a sequence of connected activities. A bottleneck is an occurrence where the performance of a system is inadequate. You must look at the efficiency of a process – output divided by the input. You look at the effectiveness of a process – when a process is thought to be effective. A process is effective when it has an intended or expected outcome, or produces the desired output.
When eliciting requirements, you need to review in-flight projects, the existing projects, their requirements and their plans. Use brainstorming sessions with SMEs. To do brainstorming, you must identify the subject matter experts from the relevant departments.Next,
identify process to system connection; develop a grid connecting processes to systems objects. Also examine existing documents – review the As-Is documents depicting processes, procedures, and methodologies. It also makes sense to visit blue prints, drawings and workflows.Requirements collection can also be done using Facilitated Workshops
, such as JAD (Joint Application Development). JAD is a facilitated group technique, where SMEs, developers, testers and a project manager develop, test and document a small piece of the future system. QFD (Quality Function Deployment) is another type of facilitated workshop. Contrary to the JAD technique, in QFD method a feature or a function is developed and deployed so that the users may discover it and use it.
There is another type of facilitated workshop known as VOC (Voice of the Customer). Here you collect requirements by collecting the end user feedback. RAD (Rapid Application Development) is like JAD, however the requirements are collected for all features and functions and development is done for the entire project, and not piece by piece.
Identifying usability is another technique of collecting requirements. It is identifying all the usability (functions & features of systems & processes). In this activity you identify process dependencies. The project manager also uses cost benefit analysis. Work with the stakeholders to analyze costs and the benefits of the usability.Use Case
Another tool and technique for collecting requirements is “Use Case”. A use case is a methodology used in system analysis to identify, clarify, and organize system requirements. It is a form of eliciting and documenting requirements. It defines interaction between objects.
A use case has four components.
(1) Actors – roles played by objects that interact with a system (actors are always external to a system).
(2) Interaction that actors can do with the system.
(3) Relationship – relationship between actors and the use cases.
(4) System Boundary – a box drawn around a use case to denote the boundary.
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