Posted by tac_admin, October 17, 2012

Business Requirements Elicitation for Interfaces

I am currently in the process of eliciting requirements for 15 different interfaces that get data from and/or send data to an application upgrade I am working on. We are not just moving to a new version of the application, but we also have two version of the application currently being used by different areas of the company, so we are tasked with also consolidating the application for the entire company so that everyone is using the same new version of the application.

How this is working:

I have set up 12 different requirements sessions (some interfaces could be combined for the sake of the requirements sessions).

Some sessions only take 2 hours, some take 4 hours, and others take an entire day. I am holding these sessions over a 20 day period.

During the sessions, the business sponsor is very involved (this has not always been true for me in the past). She starts each of the sessions with introductions, explains what the project is about, and goes over the agenda for the meeting.

As the business analyst, I am taking notes on the conversations, the requirements, and the things people bring up as “nice to haves”. I interrupt the conversations when necessary and get clarification or more details, but I generally try to let conversations flow and interrupt as little as I have to. I find that if I interrupt business SMEs they sometimes lose their train of thought or may not make points they originally intended to make. When possible, I save my questions for a break in the conversation.

We have certain subjects we are covering in every meeting, such as rollout/cutover approach and testing.

During the rollout discussion, we talk about the phased approach we are taking to roll the new application out to the user community and discuss any impacts that may have on the interfaces we are working with and how to handle those impacts.

During the testing discussion, we ask the system architect (one of those for interface is present) how many test environments they have for that particular interface and what type of data we can expect to see in the environment and what our data needs are.

The other subjects we are covering in the meetings are specific to that interface. So for example, if we receive orders from that system, we discuss what order types are received from them and what data they are sending to us. If they get completion data back from us, we also discuss what that completion data is and when in the completion process they get that data.

One point I forgot to mention – I have never worked with this application before, so this is all new to me! These meetings are intense and I’m learning a lot about the business while also documenting what the business needs are.



5 responses to “Business Requirements Elicitation for Interfaces”

  1. […] especially important. During requirements sessions, it is the Business Analyst’s job not only to capture the requirements being given, but also to facilitate discussion about those requirements and take the conversation […]

  2. […] part of eliciting requirements, the Business Analyst is responsible for posing clear, concise questions and listening for a […]

  3. […] it’s important to fully listen and engage with their responses in order to elicit complete requirements. To improve your listening skills, be sure […]

  4. […] sessions are very beneficial for finding missing requirements, clarifying textual descriptions, and correcting inaccurate […]

  5. […] BAs, sometimes we have to get requirements from subject matter experts we don’t like. They may be abrasive, stubborn, or condescending. […]

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