Joint Application Development or JAD technique is an extended, facilitated workshop that allows BAs to identify needs and requirements. JAD sessions focus on the use of highly structured, well-planned meetings to identify the key components of system development projects through collaboration between stakeholders and systems analyst.
This technique allows for the simultaneous gathering and consolidating of large amounts of information and produces relatively large amounts of high-quality information in a short period of time. Multiple points of view can be explored during these sessions, and discrepancies that arise during elicitation are resolved immediately with the aid of the facilitator.
A few drawbacks to this approach include the significant planning and scheduling effort it requires, stakeholders must also commit their time and effort, and such a technique requires trained and experienced personnel for facilitation and recording.
Here are the ins and outs of the Joint Application Development technique for eliciting requirements:
JAD Process Steps
Define the Session: Define the purpose, scope, and objectives of the JAD session, select the JAD team, invite and obtain commitment to attend sessions from the appropriate stakeholders, and schedule the session.It is important to obtain management commitment to support the process and identify the appropriate stakeholders.
Research Product: Become more familiar with the product or service, and gather preliminary information, obtaining any models needed.
Prepare: Prepare any visual aids, develop a realistic agenda, train the recorder, and prepare the meeting room.
Conduct the Session: Follow the agenda to gather and document the project needs and requirements. It is important to ensure all participants are given equal treatment during the process.
Draft the Documents: Prepare the formal documents. The information captured in the JAD session is further refined through analysis efforts. Open questions or issues discovered through the sessions are resolved, and the final document is returned to stakeholders for review and validation.
JAD Session Team
Management commitment is a must for any needs or requirements gathering process to succeed. It is very important for the JAD session team to have a management sponsor.
The executive sponsor may be a manager of the business area whose needs and requirements are being addressed during the JAD session.
The sponsor does not have to actively participate in every JAD session. It might be advisable to attend the first JAD session to show support and, perhaps, the final JAD session to review the results and make comments.
The sponsor should be available throughout the period of the JAD process to solve any serious problems or issues that may arise. The JAD facilitator must work closely with the management sponsor and provide full briefings on progress.
The facilitator is the key person in the group and is responsible for planning, executing, and managing the session. They should be a respected, skillful leader with a good reputation within the organization.
JAD facilitator skills do not happen by chance, and the skills may have to be learned through specialized training and experience. The choice of facilitator may mean the difference between a good session and a poor one.
It is essential that the facilitator be given authority to work closely with the executive sponsor to achieve the objectives of the JAD session.The facilitator will know how to direct people in order to get the best information from them.
The participation of stakeholders in the JAD session is widely accepted as essential to its ultimate success. Without their involvement, the JAD session will not be productive.
The whole point of a JAD session is to bring stakeholder and performing organization together in a structured environment.Stakeholders will rapidly gain a sense of involvement and ownership in the product or service development where a JAD session is used—which is vital to the session’s overall success.
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