Build a Strong Approach to Business Requirements Gathering

Poor requirements are the number one reason that projects fail – take a strategic approach to optimizing requirements gathering in order to give the business what it needs.

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Your Challenge

  • Poor requirements are the number one reason that projects fail. Requirements gathering and management has been an ongoing bother for IT professionals for decades.
  • If proper due diligence for requirements gathering is not conducted, then the applications that IT is deploying won’t meet business objectives and will fail to deliver adequate business value.
  • Inaccurate requirements definition can lead to significant amounts of project rework and hurt the organization’s financial performance. It will also create significant damage to the working relationship between IT and the business.
  • Often, business analysts haven’t developed the right competencies to successfully execute requirements gathering processes, even when they are in place.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • To avoid making makeshift solutions, an organization needs to gather requirements with the desired future state in mind.
  • Creating a unified set of standard operating procedures is essential for effectively gathering requirements, but many organizations fail to do it.
  • Centralizing governance of requirements processes with a requirements gathering steering committee or requirements gathering center of excellence can bring greater uniformity and cohesion when gathering requirements across projects.
  • Business analysts must be targeted for competency development to ensure that the processes developed above are being successfully executed and the right questions are being asked of project sponsors and stakeholders.

Impact and Result

  • Enhanced requirements analysis will lead to tangible reductions in cycle time and reduced project overhead.
  • An improvement in requirements analysis will strengthen the relationship between business and IT, as more and more applications satisfy stakeholder needs.
  • More importantly, the applications delivered by IT will meet all of the “must have” and at least some of the “nice to have” requirements, allowing end users to successfully execute their day-to-day responsibilities.

Build a Strong Approach to Business Requirements Gathering

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should invest in optimizing your requirements gathering processes.


2

Define the elicitation process

Develop best practices for conducting and structuring elicitation of business requirements.

4

Create a requirements governance action plan

Formalize change control and governance processes for requirements gathering.

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Requirements Gathering Course

Poor requirements are the number one reason projects fail.
This course makes up part of the PPM & Projects Certificate.

Now Playing: Executive Brief

Course information:

Title: Requirements Gathering Course
Number of Course Modules: 7
Estimated Time to Complete: 2-3 hours

Featured:
Suanne McGrath-Kelly, Sr. Research Director, Applications Practice
Gord Harrison, SVP of Research and Advisory

Onsite Workshop

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Module 1: Define the Current State and Target State for Requirements Gathering

The Purpose

  • Create a clear understanding of the target needs for the requirements gathering process.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • A comprehensive review of the current state for requirements gathering across people, processes, and technology.
  • Identification of major challenges (and opportunity areas) that should be improved via the requirements gathering optimization project.

Activities:
Outputs

1.1

Understand current state and document existing requirement process steps.

  • Requirements Gathering Maturity Assessment

1.2

Identify stakeholder, process, outcome, and training challenges.

1.3

Conduct target state analysis.

  • Project Level Selection Tool

1.4

Establish requirements gathering metrics.

1.5

Identify project levels 1/2/3/4.

1.6

Match control points to project levels 1/2/3/4.

1.7

Conduct project scoping and identify stakeholders.

  • Requirements Gathering Documentation Tool

Module 2: Define the Elicitation Process

The Purpose

  • Create best practices for conducting and structuring elicitation of business requirements.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • A repeatable framework for initial elicitation of requirements.
  • Prescribed, project-specific elicitation techniques.

Activities:
Outputs

2.1

Understand elicitation techniques and which ones to use.

  • Project Elicitation Schedule

2.2

Document and confirm elicitation techniques.

2.3

Create a requirements gathering elicitation plan for your project.

2.4

Build the operating model for your project.

  • Project Operating Model

2.5

Define SIPOC-MC for your selected project.

  • Project SIPOC-MC Sub-Processes

2.6

Practice using interviews with business stakeholders to build use case models.

  • Project Use Cases

2.7

Practice using table-top testing with business stakeholders to build use case models.

Module 3: Analyze and Validate Requirements

The Purpose

  • Build a standardized framework for analysis and validation of business requirements.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Policies for requirements categorization, prioritization, and validation.
  • Improved project value as a result of better prioritization using the MOSCOW model.

Activities:
Outputs

3.1

Categorize gathered requirements for use.

  • Requirements Gathering Documentation Tool

3.2

Consolidate similar requirements and eliminate redundancies.

3.3

Practice prioritizing requirements.

3.4

Build the business process model for the project.

3.5

Rightsize the requirements documentation template.

  • Requirements Gathering Testing Checklist

3.6

Present the business requirements document to business stakeholders.

3.7

Identify testing opportunities.

Module 4: Establish Change Control Processes

The Purpose

  • Create formalized change control processes for requirements gathering.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Reduced interjections and rework – strengthened formal evaluation and control of change requests to project requirements.

Activities:
Outputs

4.1

Review existing CR process.

  • Requirements Traceability Matrix

4.2

Review change control process best practices and optimization opportunities.

4.3

Build guidelines for escalating changes.

  • Requirements Gathering Communication Tracking Template

4.4

Confirm your requirements gathering process for project levels 1/2/3/4.

Module 5: Establish Ongoing Governance for Requirements Gathering

The Purpose

  • Establish governance structures and ongoing oversight for business requirements gathering.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Consistent governance and oversight of the requirements gathering process, resulting in fewer “wild west” scenarios.
  • Better repeatability for the new requirements gathering process, resulting in less wasted time and effort at the outset of projects.

Activities:
Outputs

5.1

Define RACI for the requirements gathering process.

  • Requirements Gathering Action Plan

5.2

Define the requirements gathering steering committee purpose.

5.3

Define RACI for requirements gathering steering committee.

5.4

Define the agenda and cadence for the requirements gathering steering committee.

5.5

Identify and analyze stakeholders for communication plan.

5.6

Create communication management plan.

5.7

Build the action plan.

Member Testimonials

After each Info-Tech experience, we ask our members to quantify the real time savings, monetary impact, and project improvements our research helped them achieve. See our top member experiences for this Blueprint, and what our clients have to say.

Client

$ Saved

Days Saved

Testimonial

Delta Dental Plan of New Jersey

N/A

N/A

Great subject matter expertise from Ben, our instructor.

Navy Engineering Logistics Office (NELO)

$26,247

15

Good continuity from day 1 to 4. Good listening ability and able to incorporate our comments in the training. No "worst" aspect. All went well for all 4 days.

New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association

$20,997

15

Requirements execution was great. Would like a broader process encompassing requirements gathering/validation through the end of the project lifecycle.

Client

Facilitator(s) effectiveness

INFO & materials effectiveness

Overall experience

Understanding of next steps

Testimonial

Polk County Tax Collector

8.0

10.0

9.0

9.0

Excellent. The workshop facilitator was very good at covering what the week was going to look like. The expectations were laid out and met. The depth was more than I thought it would be. We got to pick our internal projects to use as examples, and that made it very helpful. A huge benefit to the workshop was the way it's structured. A couple of the team members said, "Wow, this is really going to take us to the next level with our projects." I'm really feeling like it's going to give us that structure that we need to ensure our projects are all of the same quality, that they ARE quality, and that we don't miss requirements.

City of Greensboro

10.0

8.0

10.0

9.0

Info-Tech brought it down to a level where everyone realized it was essential, and then gave us concrete tools to leverage and showed us how to use them, which was key. It was really outstanding. It was exactly what our team needed, it was the right time, it was the right place, it was the right facilitator, it was the right materials. I definitely saved myself time by not having to figure it all out. Taking it all in one fell swoop versus staging it over a long period of time really made an impact in how we can leverage it. For me, the templates, the overall process, and the education all in one would have taken me a long time to come up with and do.

New Era Cap

7.5

9.0

8.0

9.0

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association

5.0

7.0

6.0

Utica National Insurance Group

9.0

8.0

8.5

9.0

Okanagan College

8.0

6.0

8.0

10.0