Posted by tac_admin, May 7, 2014

How to Conduct Elicitation

<img src="image.gif" alt="Conference Room" />Elicitation is simply meeting with clients and stakeholder(s) to gather information regarding their business needs. It’s a simple fact-finding mission, nothing more. Many BAs try to complicate this, so don’t fall into that trap.

No matter whether you’re observing, prototyping, or interviewing, elicitation takes place in three main ways. The first can be an actual event, such as brainstorming, focus groups, or requirements workshops. Secondly, elicitation is performed on the group, such as document analysis, or the elicitation may be distributed, as in the case of surveys and questionnaires.

According to BABOK®, pages 56-59, the BA needs several items to properly conduct elicitation. BABOK’s guidelines follow.

The customer, domain SME, end user, supplier, and sponsor may join you with your clients to add more depth to the elicitation. They will bring a richness that you cannot find anywhere else. Ensure that plenty of customers and end users are included so you can get a feel for where they’re coming from and how you can help.

Elicitation requires a business need to confirm that the BA understands what information is needed from the stakeholders and other interested parties.

As you decide on new or original activities, organizational process charts may include templates or processes. Don’t forget to ask, as templates will make your life easier. The OP goes hand-in hand with a good requirements management plan to determine the information to be recorded as an outcome of the activity.

Ensure that relevant stakeholders, location, and other resources are available and added to a schedule for the event venue so they can be included if they wish. In addition, the implementation SME, operational support, project manager, supplier, and tester may participate to improve their understanding of the stakeholder needs.

You’ll find that some clients tend to hold on to their old notions of what things cost and how dear they can be. Don’t be afraid to list on the client’s requirements documenting attributes such as the requirement’s source, value and priority will aid in managing each requirement throughout its life cycle.

Tracking the elicitation participants and the actual time spent eliciting the requirements provides a basis for future planning.

For event-based elicitation techniques, the knowledge of the stakeholders, their willingness to participate in defining requirements, and the group’s ability to reach consensus will all highly effect the outcome.

To ensure that elicitation is as effective as possible, it is important that all defined stakeholders be heard during elicitation of requirements. It may be necessary to further clarify and possibly restate the requirements to encompass all stakeholders’ perspectives.

General elicitation techniques include:

  • Brainstorming
  • Document Analysis
  • Focus Groups
  • Interface Analysis
  • Interviews
  • Observation
  • Prototyping
  • Requirements Workshops
  • Survey/Questionnaire

When you elicit, you do all you can to gather the information you need. There may be times you feel that you’re being harsh on stakeholders, but they know as well as you do (or better) what their leaders need.

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