Countless times, requirements sessions start off with a discussion of business needs, only to quickly derail to the implementation details. Though it’s a common detour, discussion of design should be avoided until the business requirements and objectives are clearly defined and all project stakeholders understand the problem the project is trying to solve.
With approximately 85% of software defects introduced during the requirements stage, it is critical to concentrate on the intended behavior of the system before the focus moves elsewhere.
The following are a few steps that are extremely helpful in keeping a requirements session focused on processes and objectives, rather than design.
Lay the Ground Rules and Set the Tone. In preparing for the requirements session, remind the project team of the goal of the session and set rules to follow for the session.
Look for interactive and fun ways to keep the group centered during these sessions. You can also list workshop “don’ts” on a flip chart to make everyone is aware of what not to ask during the session.
Understand the Affected Business Processes. Participants should begin discussing the process from end-to-end along with alternative paths. Identify business rules and uncover all the ins and outs of offline processes. Throughout the entire session, and until there is agreement on what defines project success, the Business Analyst must reign in these technical how-to discussions, tactfully reminding the project team that the focus at the planning stage is on what the system will do, not how the system will do it.
Capture Usable Requirements. When capturing requirements, the BA should also keep in mind that generally requirements should be verifiable, attainable, unambiguous, consistent, traceable, and concise. Requirements should not mention implementation details and should be able to stand alone. Right now, your focus is on adequately detailing the deliverables and components of those deliverables, which will later become the foundation for your project.
Remember to steer focus on what needs to be done—not the mechanics of how to do it—and you’ll lead a requirements session that ends in a successful project and end product.
Keep your requirements session on track every time. I’ll show you how when you sign up for my online training course today!