The BABOK® Guide discusses BA elicitation techniques and methods of working with stakeholders to understand their concerns. When you elicit properly, you truly understand the stakeholders’ true needs, and the Agile Extension to the BABOK® Guide discusses these techniques in detail.
Elicitation is not a one-time activity, but continues through the project, beginning with an initial elicitation that looks at the project needs on a high level. Throughout the project, the elicitation becomes more detailed as the user stories and backlog become more refined. A myriad of techniques for elicitation, from preparation to result confirmation, are listed below.
- Personas: Personas have specialized knowledge into the stakeholder’s specific needs and know which elicitation techniques may be most effective in understanding those needs.
- User Stories: Used for the backlog, user stories identify stakeholders and their values, goals, and needs.
- Story Mapping: A graphic representation of user stories, a story map keeps the team on track and gives them a tangible goal to aim for. The first story map is done by the BA, with assistance from stakeholders, to allocate resources and understand the requirements. The project will be guided by the backlog and its prioritization, which means later elicitation sessions will be tailored to the stakeholder.
Conducting of Elicitation:
- Behavior Driven Development (BDD): It’s often easier for stakeholders to talk and give the team or the BA concrete examples of their needs (and behaviors surrounding those needs) instead of using abstract models.
- Collaborative Games: To improve the accuracy of elicitation, collaborative games allow stakeholders and the team to build a joint understanding of a problem. After the high‐level requirements are noted, stakeholders work directly with the development team directly to ensure that the work fulfills the requirements and is performed correctly.
Documenting Elicitation Results:
- Lightweight Documentation: Simply put, there is no separate documentation for elicitation and analysis because they occur simultaneously throughout the project. Agile minimizes time between the development of requirements and their implementation, so records of elicitation activities ensure that key decisions are understood later or that regulatory or legal requirements are met.
Confirming Elicitation Results:
- Behavior Driven Development (BDD): Acceptance criteria that use examples rather than models confirm that the software meets requirements.
- Retrospectives: Elicitation results are refuted or confirmed based on stakeholder feedback of live product testing or demonstration. Requirements may be changed, added, or deleted per the customer’s request.
Which elicitation techniques are your favorites?