Some companies use something like “Must Have, Nice to Have, Optional.” Others may use a numbering priority like 1-3, 1 meaning “Must Have” and each subsequent number decreasing in urgency from there.
Prioritizing requirements is an important step when considering the scope of the project. As most projects must be completed by a specific date, sometimes the scope of the project needs to change in order to meet that deadline.
It helps to know which requirements are most important vs. least important when the project team is determining what could be held off for a later release instead of going into production in the initial release.
If the requirements meeting is in person, the BA might use the end of the meeting to do the priority exercise. Not only does this exercise render important information, but it’s also an entertaining way to finish the session!
Here’s how this exercise can be done:
- Take sheets of colored dots to the meeting in enough different colors to match the number of priorities. If the priorities are Must Have, Nice to Have, and Optional, the BA should have 3 different colors of dots.
- The requirements should be listed on papers hung on the wall—these can be typed or handwritten depending on how much time there was to prepare for the “dot” exercise.
- Each SME should be given sheets of dots in all three colors.
- Every SME will go to the wall and place dots next to the requirements based on what category they feel each requirement falls into.
- Once everyone is finished putting up there dots, it’s usually easy to tell which requirements are “Must Haves” because they will have the most dots next to them in the color that was meant for the “Must Have” priority.
Note that ONLY the SMEs and business partners take part in this exercise. The business analyst, project manager, and IT staff do not take part in the voting. This exercise is strictly for the business people.
This exercise can also spur discussions related to the priority for certain requirements. If there are 10 SMEs and 5 say a requirement is a “Must Have” and the other 5 say “Nice to Have,” it is the responsibility of the BA to lead a discussion on which priority best fits the business needs for that requirement.
If the meeting is via a conference call, the BA may need to email the list of requirements to each SME, get them to put there priority on them and email them back to the BA.
Once the BA gets the results, they can compile them and then have a follow-up conference call with everyone and review the results of the priority exercise.
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