From the time a project begins, requirements guide the project through completion. Requirements define the problem the project addresses and form the framework for project documents. The role of the project manager and the business analyst is to ensure that the requirements are appropriate in size and scope and will help the team to arrive at the results the company needs.
Eliciting requirements sounds simple: ask questions of users, customers, and the business. In reality, the elicitation process is one of the most important parts of the project. If the issues that give rise to the requirements are not fully understood, opportunities for proper analysis and growth are lost. When you elicit, verify, and validate the requirements properly, you’ve laid the groundwork effectively for the project.
For effective elicitation, consider the following for software programs:
- What are the true challenges users face?
- Can any of these issues be solved easily with more training?
- Do the users expect results that are feasible, or are they seeking results outside the scope of the program?
- Are you asking them the right questions? Do you know what those questions mean to them?
- Is terminology causing a communication barrier? Are you paying attention to the interviewee’s body language and choice of language?
After talking with users, consult the business and listen to what they say. You will know what to ask based on what they tell you in the context of the users’ feedback. Use active listening to repeat back what you heard to ensure you understood what they were saying. Ask for agreement from the business of what the requirement is, and clarify.
After eliciting requirements, it’s time for verification, which confirms that the requirements are correct and will fulfill the business needs within the scope of the project. Verification occurs through constant communication and reviews with business partners that ensure that requirements are correct and clear and properly meet the needs of all involved, from company stakeholders to the users. Validation is quality control for requirements. Validation is completed by creating a trace matrix to ensure test coverage of requirements and through software testing.
Verification should occur prior to building the solution and validation will occur after the solution is built. When verifying, every requirement must be addressed separately for clarity, necessity, and feasibility.
Find out more about requirements elicitation, verification, and validation in our online course.