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Improve Requirements Gathering

Back to basics: great products are built on great requirements.

  • Poor requirements are the number one reason that projects fail. Requirements gathering and management has been an ongoing issue 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 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.

Improve Requirements Gathering Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

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

1. Build the target state for the requirements gathering process

Capture a clear understanding of the target needs for the requirements process.

2. Define the elicitation process

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

3. Analyze and validate requirements

Standardize frameworks for analysis and validation of business requirements.

4. Create a requirements governance action plan

Formalize change control and governance processes for requirements gathering.

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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.

9.5/10


Overall Impact

$170,230


Average $ Saved

24


Average Days Saved

Client

Experience

Impact

$ Saved

Days Saved

Georgia Municipal Association

Workshop

10/10

$12,999

20

Working through situational examples that happen at our company was very helpful.

State of Kansas Human Services

Workshop

8/10

N/A

N/A

I don't know how to estimate the time and money it will save. But from my team, I received excellent feedback. The only thing we need to do now i... Read More

Ideal Boilers Limited

Guided Implementation

10/10

$16,400

5

The team are so informed but more than that so keen to work with us to get to a great answer for our business.

California Department of Motor Vehicles

Guided Implementation

10/10

$129K

20

Vince was the best part. He covered the material clearly, paused for questions and to check our understanding, and he even covered a topic that was... Read More

Mevotech LP

Workshop

9/10

$10,000

5

Fernco Inc

Workshop

10/10

$64,999

20

Worst: Learning the about the requirements gathering fundamentals that need to be in place to be ready up the bottom from the maturity level. B... Read More

Medicaid - Louisiana Department of Health

Workshop

10/10

$12,999

32

There were so many applicable and executable topics that were covered. Everyone on my team talked about how much they enjoyed the discussions and i... Read More

Modesto Irrigation District

Workshop

10/10

$64,999

20

Kieran did a great job presenting the information. I'm already seeing improvements in the way our team works with end-users to gather system requi... Read More

Public Utility District 2 Grant County

Guided Implementation

10/10

$12,999

20

Westoba Credit Union Limited

Workshop

9/10

$600K

50

Best - The material was relevant, and Kieran presented with examples that really drove the critical points home. We are very new to requirements ga... Read More

Great Lakes Water Authority

Workshop

9/10

N/A

N/A

I found the following most useful: • Maturity Assessment • BA Task Deep Dive • Metrics • Stop, Start, Continue, conversation • Elicitation Te... Read More

The President and Fellows of Harvard College, a Massachusetts nonprofit corporation, acting by and through Harvard Business School

Guided Implementation

10/10

N/A

N/A

Working with Vincent has been very encouraging. He is super helpful to our work and is willing to engage at a pace that is sustainable for us. Vinc... Read More

County of Marin IST

Workshop

9/10

$11,699

10

We had explained our needs to the consultant tentatively assigned to facilitate our workshop, however when our facilitator changed, these needs wer... Read More

General Dynamics Land Systems Inc.

Workshop

10/10

N/A

44

Kieran was extremely knowledgeable and was able to answer all our ad hoc questions. We left the week with an action plan and tools to get started.... Read More

Circular Materials

Workshop

10/10

$10,000

10

We really appreciated Kieran's flexibility. He was able to adjust the content and delivery to the attendees to make the learning experience more ... Read More

City of Virginia Beach

Workshop

10/10

$12,999

10

Mr. Herzstein was very well prepared and knowledgeable, and he managed the sessions well. The best part was to see how the teams were engaged in th... Read More

St. Lukes Health System Ltd.

Workshop

8/10

$12,599

2

This was our first InfoTech workshop. Kieran did an amazing job facilitating to a wide range of participants. There were also add-ins that were "bo... Read More

South Carolina Department of Education

Workshop

10/10

$779K

50

Truly an enlightening experience. It gave me a sense of comfort in finding that while we need to do some internal organization and setting some u... Read More

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Workshop

9/10

$25,000

20

It is hard to estimate the value. The team did get a good foundational base on gathering requirements. With regards to worst parts it would have be... Read More

State Universities Retirement System Of Illinois

Workshop

8/10

$6,299

90

Kieran's insight based on real-life experiences! The real-time updates to ppt slides for processes, and the worksheets we worked from were very he... Read More

BASS (GSD) LTD

Workshop

9/10

$1.26M

47

Best: We were able to utilize the topics covered within the workshop and able to map that against our organization. Worst: It would have been more ... Read More

LynnCo

Workshop

9/10

N/A

5

The worst part was that I had other priorities come up, and I couldn't attend the whole event.

The Suddath Companies

Workshop

10/10

$20,159

16

No worst parts Best - He was great, engaged everyone and got the most out of the folks who participated This feedback is from Paul Schuster

MUFG Investor Services

Guided Implementation

10/10

N/A

5

Presenter was knowledgeable, friendly, prepared with the right materials and was a good listner.

Dark Fibre Africa

Guided Implementation

8/10

$29,139

10

CRH: Oldcastle Building Envelope

Workshop

10/10

$29,139

10

The extensive details within the materials is impressive and very useful. The work shop leader was excellent, I just wish more members of our te... Read More

Lendmark Financial Services, LLC

Guided Implementation

10/10

$12,399

5

There really isn't a worse part but the best part is to hear other idea and opinions and identify gaps. if we had to read thru all the material pr... Read More

County of Marin IST

Guided Implementation

9/10

N/A

N/A

Robert is attentive, listens to our requirement and provides great insight . Unfortunately, due to our current workload, the team needs to shift t... Read More

MicroPort Orthopedics Inc.

Guided Implementation

10/10

N/A

10

No worst parts. Best part was discussing trials of the job and visual aids to assist my stakeholders with the big picture and next steps in each p... Read More

Holy Name Medical Center

Workshop

9/10

N/A

50

Feedback collected from attendees: The instructor went the extra mile to understand our processes/lack thereof, organizational structure, and cult... Read More


Requirements Gathering

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

  • Course Modules: 5
  • Estimated Completion Time: 2-3 hours
  • Featured Analysts:
  • Ben Dickie, Research Director, Applications Practice
  • David Piazza, VP of Research and Advisory

Now Playing:
Academy: Requirements Gathering | Executive Brief

An active membership is required to access Info-Tech Academy

Workshop: Improve Requirements Gathering

Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

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.


Improve Requirements Gathering

Back to basics: great products are built on great requirements.

Analyst Perspective

A strong process for business requirements gathering is essential for application project success. However, most organizations do not take a strategic approach to optimizing how they conduct business analysis and requirements definition.

"Robust business requirements are the basis of a successful project. Without requirements that correctly articulate the underlying needs of your business stakeholders, projects will fail to deliver value and involve significant rework. In fact, an Info-Tech study found that of projects that fail over two-thirds fail due to poorly defined business requirements.

Despite the importance of good business requirements to project success, many organizations struggle to define a consistent and repeatable process for requirements gathering. This results in wasted time and effort from both IT and the business, and generates requirements that are incomplete and of dubious value. Additionally, many business analysts lack the competencies and analytical techniques needed to properly execute the requirements gathering process.

This research will help you get requirements gathering right by developing a set of standard operating procedures across requirements elicitation, analysis, and validation. It will also help you identify and fine-tune the business analyst competencies necessary to make requirements gathering a success."

– Ben Dickie, Director, Enterprise Applications, Info-Tech Research Group

Our understanding of the problem

This Research is Designed For:

  • The IT applications director who has accountability for ensuring that requirements gathering procedures are both effective and efficient.
  • The designated business analyst or requirements gathering professional who needs a concrete understanding of how to execute upon requirements gathering SOPs.

This Research Will Help You:

  • Diagnose your current state and identify (and prioritize) gaps that exist between your target requirements gathering needs and your current capabilities and processes.
  • Build a requirements gathering SOP that prescribes a framework for requirements governance and technology usage, as well as techniques for elicitation, analysis, and validation.

This Research Will Also Assist:

  • The business partner/stakeholder who is interested in ways to work with IT to improve upon existing procedures for requirements gathering.
  • Systems analysts and developers who need to understand how business requirements are effectively gathered upstream.

This Research Will Help Them:

  • Understand the significance and importance of business requirements gathering on overall project success and value alignment.
  • Create rules of engagement for assisting IT with the collection of requirements from the right stakeholders in a timely fashion.

Executive summary

Situation

  • Strong business requirements are essential to project success – inadequate requirements are the number one reason that projects fail.
  • Organizations need a consistent, repeatable, and prescriptive set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) that dictate how business requirements gathering should be conducted.

Complication

  • If proper due diligence for requirements gathering is not conducted, then the applications that IT is deploying won’t meet business objectives, and they 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 damage the relationship between IT and the business.

Resolution

  • To avoid delivering makeshift solutions (paving the cow path), organizations need to gather requirements with the desired future state in mind. Organizations need to keep an open mind when gathering requirements.
  • Creating a unified set of SOPs is essential for effectively gathering requirements; these procedures should cover not just elicitation, analysis, and validation, but also include process governance and documentation.
  • BAs who conduct requirements gathering must demonstrate proven competencies for stakeholder management, analytical techniques, and the ability to speak the language of both the business and IT.
  • 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 execute their day-to-day responsibilities.

Info-Tech Insight

  1. Requirements gathering SOPs should be prescriptive based on project complexity. Complex projects will require more analytical rigor. Simpler projects can be served by more straightforward techniques like user story development.
  2. Business analysts (BA) can make or break the execution of the requirements gathering process. A strong process still needs to be executed well by BAs with the right blend of skills and knowledge.

Understand what constitutes a strong business requirement

A business requirement is a statement that clearly outlines the functional capability that the business needs from a system or application. There are several attributes to look at in requirements:

Verifiable
Stated in a way that can be easily tested

Unambiguous
Free of subjective terms and can only be interpreted in one way

Complete
Contains all relevant information

Consistent
Does not conflict with other requirements

Achievable
Possible to accomplish with budgetary and technological constraints

Traceable
Trackable from inception through to testing

Unitary
Addresses only one thing and cannot be decomposed into multiple requirements

Agnostic
Doesn’t pre-suppose a specific vendor or product

Not all requirements will meet all of the attributes.

In some situations, an insight will reveal new requirements. This requirement will not follow all of the attributes listed above and that’s okay. If a new insight changes the direction of the project, re-evaluate the scope of the project.

Attributes are context specific.

Depending on the scope of the project, certain attributes will carry more weight than others. Weigh the value of each attribute before elicitation and adjust as required. For example, verifiable will be a less-valued attribute when developing a client-facing website with no established measuring method/software.

Build a firm foundation: requirements gathering is an essential step in any project, but many organizations struggle

Proper requirements gathering is critical for delivering business value from IT projects, but it remains an elusive and perplexing task for most organizations. You need to have a strategy for end-to-end requirements gathering, or your projects will consistently fail to meet business expectations.

50% of project rework is attributable to problems with requirements. (Info-Tech Research Group)

45% of delivered features are utilized by end users. (The Standish Group)

78% of IT professionals believe the business is “usually” or “always” out of sync with project requirements. (Blueprint Software Systems)

45% of IT professionals admit to being “fuzzy” about the details of a project’s business objectives. (Blueprint Software Systems)

Requirements gathering is truly an organization-spanning issue, and it falls directly on the IT directors who oversee projects to put prudent SOPs in place for managing the requirements gathering process. Despite its importance, the majority of organizations have challenges with requirements gathering.

What happens when requirements are no longer effective?

  • Poor requirements can have a very visible and negative impact on deployed apps.
  • IT receives the blame for any project shortcomings or failures.
  • IT loses its credibility and ability to champion future projects.
  • Late projects use IT resources longer than planned.

Requirements gathering is a core component of the overall project lifecycle that must be given its due diligence

PMBOK’s Five Phase Project Lifecycle

Initiate – Plan: Requirements Gathering Lives Here – Execute – Control – Close

Inaccurate requirements is the 2nd most common cause of project failure (Project Management Institute ‒ Smartsheet).

Requirements gathering is a critical stage of project planning.

Depending on whether you take an Agile or Waterfall project management approach, it can be extended into the initiate and execute phases of the project lifecycle.

Strong stakeholder satisfaction with requirements gathering results in higher satisfaction in other areas

Organizations that had high satisfaction with requirements gathering were more likely to be highly satisfied with the other areas of IT. In fact, 72% of organizations that had high satisfaction with requirements gathering were also highly satisfied with the availability of IT capacity to complete projects.

A bar graph measuring % High Satisfaction when projects have High Requirements Gathering vs. Not High Requirements Gathering. The graph shows a substantially higher percentage of high satisfaction on projects with High Requirements Gathering

Note: High satisfaction was classified as organizations with a score greater or equal to 8. Not high satisfaction was every other organization that scored below 8 on the area questions.

N=395 organizations from Info-Tech’s CIO Business Vision diagnostic

Requirements gathering efforts are filled with challenges; review these pitfalls to avoid in your optimization efforts

The challenges that afflict requirements gathering are multifaceted and often systemic in nature. There isn’t a single cure that will fix all of your requirements gathering problems, but an awareness of frequently encountered challenges will give you a basis for where to consider establishing better SOPs. Commonly encountered challenges include:

Process Challenges

  • Requirements may be poorly documented, or not documented at all.
  • Elicitation methods may be inappropriate (e.g. using a survey when collaborative whiteboarding is needed).
  • Elicitation methods may be poorly executed.
  • IT and business units may not be communicating requirements in the same terms/language.
  • Requirements that conflict with one another may not be identified during analysis.
  • Requirements cannot be traced from origin to testing.

Stakeholder Challenges

  • Stakeholders may be unaware of the requirements needed for the ideal solution.
  • Stakeholders may have difficulty properly articulating their desired requirements.
  • Stakeholders may have difficulty gaining consensus on the ideal solution.
  • Relevant stakeholders may not be consulted on requirements.
  • Sign-off may not be received from the proper stakeholders.

70% of projects fail due to poor requirements. (Info-Tech Research Group)

Address the root cause of poor requirements to increase project success

Root Causes of Poor Requirements Gathering:

  • Requirements gathering procedures don’t exist.
  • Requirements gathering procedures exist but aren’t followed.
  • There isn't enough time allocated to the requirements gathering phase.
  • There isn't enough involvement or investment secured from business partners.
  • There is no senior leadership involvement or mandate to fix requirements gathering.
  • There are inadequate efforts put towards obtaining and enforcing sign-off.

Outcomes of Poor Requirements Gathering:

  • Rework due to poor requirements leads to costly overruns.
  • Final deliverables are of poor quality.
  • Final deliverables are implemented late.
  • Predicted gains from deployed applications are not realized.
  • There are low feature utilization rates by end users.
  • There are high levels of end-user dissatisfaction.
  • There are high levels of project sponsor dissatisfaction.

Info-Tech Insight

Requirements gathering is the number one failure point for most development or procurement projects that don’t deliver value. This has been and continues to be the case as most organizations still don't get requirements gathering right. Overcoming organizational cynicism can be a major obstacle when it is time to optimize the requirements gathering process.

Reduce wasted project work with clarity of business goals and analysis of requirements

You can reduce the amount of wasted work by making sure you have clear business goals. In fact, you could see an improvement of as much as 50% by going from a low level of satisfaction with clarity of business goals (<2) to a high level of satisfaction (≥5).

A line graph demonstrating that as the amount of wasted work increases, clarity of business goals satisfaction decreases.

Likewise, you could see an improvement of as much as 43% by going from a low level of satisfaction with analysis of requirements (less than 2) to a high level of satisfaction (greater than or equal to 5).

A line graph demonstrating that as the Amount of Wasted Work decreases, the level of satisfaction with analysis of requirements shifts from low to high.

Note: Waste is measured by the amount of cancelled projects; suboptimal assignment of resources; analyzing, fixing, and re-deploying; inefficiency, and unassigned resources.

N=200 teams from the Project Portfolio Management diagnostic

Effective requirements gathering supports other critical elements of project management success

Good intentions and hard work aren’t enough to make a project successful. As you proceed with a project, step back and assess the critical success factors. Make sure that the important inputs and critical activities of requirements gathering are supporting, not inhibiting, project success.

  1. Streamlined Project Intake
  2. Strong Stakeholder Management
  3. Defined Project Scope
  4. Effective Project Management
  5. Environmental Analysis

Don’t improvise: have a structured, end-to-end approach for successfully gathering useful requirements

Creating a unified SOP guide for requirements elicitation, analysis, and validation is a critical step for requirements optimization; it gives your BAs a common frame of reference for conducting requirements gathering.

  • The key to requirements optimization is to establish a strong set of SOPs that provide direction on how your organization should be executing requirements gathering processes. This SOP guide should be a holistic document that walks your BAs through a requirements gathering project from beginning to end.
  • An SOP that is put aside is useless; it must be well communicated to BAs. It should be treated as the veritable manifesto of requirements management in your organization.

Info-Tech Insight

Having a standardized approach to requirements management is critical, and SOPs should be the responsibility of a group. The SOP guide should cover all of the major bases of requirements management. In addition to providing a walk-through of the process, an SOP also clarifies requirements governance.

Leverage Info-Tech’s proven Requirements Gathering Framework as the basis for building requirements processes

A graphic with APPLICATIONS THAT DELIVER BUSINESS VALUE written in the middle. Three steps are named: Elicit; Analyze; Validate. Around the outer part of the graphic are 4 arrows arranged in a circle, with the labels: Plan; Monitor; Communicate; Manage.

Info-Tech’s Requirements Gathering Framework is a comprehensive approach to requirements management that can be scaled to any size of project or organization. This framework has been extensively road-tested with our clients to ensure that it balances the needs of IT and business stakeholders to give a holistic, end-to-end approach for requirements gathering. It covers the foundational issues (elicitation, analysis, and validation) and prescribes techniques for planning, monitoring, communicating, and managing the requirements gathering process.

Don’t forget resourcing: the best requirements gathering process will still fail if you don’t develop BA competencies

When creating the process for requirements gathering, think about how it will be executed by your BAs, and what the composition of your BA team should look like. A strong BA needs to serve as an effective translator, being able to speak the language of both the business and IT.

  1. To ensure alignment of your BAs to the requirements gathering process, undertake a formal skills assessment to identify areas where analysts are strong, and areas that should be targeted for training and skills development.
  2. Training of BAs on the requirements gathering process and development of intimate familiarity with SOPs is essential; you need to get BAs on the same page to ensure consistency and repeatability of the requirements process.
  3. Consider implementing a formal mentorship and/or job shadowing program between senior and junior BAs. Many of our members report that leveraging senior BAs to bootstrap the competencies of more junior team members is a proven approach to building skillsets for requirements gathering.

What are some core competencies of a good BA?

  • Strong stakeholder management.
  • Proven track record in facilitating elicitation sessions.
  • Ability to bridge the gulf between IT and the business by speaking both languages.
  • Ability to ask relevant probing questions to uncover latent needs.
  • Experience with creating project operating models and business process diagrams.
  • Ability to set and manage expectations throughout the process.

Throughout this blueprint, look for the “BA Insight” box to learn how steps in the requirements gathering process relate to the skills needed by BAs to facilitate the process effectively.

A mid-sized local government overhauls its requirements gathering approach and sees strong results

CASE STUDY

Industry

Government

Source

Info-Tech Research Group Workshop

The Client

The organization was a local government responsible for providing services to approximately 600,000 citizens in the southern US. Its IT department is tasked with deploying applications and systems (such as HRIS) that support the various initiatives and mandate of the local government.

The Requirements Gathering Challenge

The IT department recognized that a strong requirements gathering process was essential to delivering value to its stakeholders. However, there was no codified process in place – each BA unilaterally decided how they would conduct requirements gathering at the start of each project. IT recognized that to enhance both the effectiveness and efficiency of requirements gathering, it needed to put in place a strong, prescriptive set of SOPs.

The Improvement

Working with a team from Info-Tech, the IT leadership and BA team conducted a workshop to develop a new set of SOPs that provided clear guidance for each stage of the requirements process: elicitation, analysis, and validation. As a result, business satisfaction and value alignment increased.

The Requirements Gathering SOP and BA Playbook offers a codified set of SOPs for requirements gathering gave BAs a clear playbook.

Info-Tech offers various levels of support to best suit your needs

DIY Toolkit

“Our team has already made this critical project a priority, and we have the time and capability, but some guidance along the way would be helpful.”

Guided Implementation

“Our team knows that we need to fix a process, but we need assistance to determine where to focus. Some check-ins along the way would help keep us on track.”

Workshop

“We need to hit the ground running and get this project kicked off immediately. Our team has the ability to take this over once we get a framework and strategy in place.”

Consulting

“Our team does not have the time or the knowledge to take this project on. We need assistance through the entirety of this project.”

Diagnostics and consistent frameworks used throughout all four options

Build a Strong Approach to Business Requirements Gathering – project overview

1. Build the Target State for Requirements Gathering 2. Define the Elicitation Process 3. Analyze and Validate Requirements 4. Create a Requirements Governance Action Plan
Best-Practice Toolkit

1.1 Understand the Benefits of Requirements Optimization

1.2 Determine Your Target State for Requirements Gathering

2.1 Determine Elicitation Techniques

2.2 Structure Elicitation Output

3.1 Create Analysis Framework

3.2 Validate Business Requirements

4.1 Create Control Processes for Requirements Changes

4.2 Build Requirements Governance and Communication Plan

Guided Implementations
  • Review Info-Tech’s requirements gathering methodology.
  • Assess current state for requirements gathering – pains and challenges.
  • Determine target state for business requirements gathering – areas of opportunity.
  • Assess elicitation techniques and determine best fit to projects and business environment.
  • Review options for structuring the output of requirements elicitation (i.e. SIPOC).
  • Create policies for requirements categorization and prioritization.
  • Establish best practices for validating the BRD with project stakeholders.
  • Discuss how to handle changes to requirements, and establish a formal change control process.
  • Review options for ongoing governance of the requirements gathering process.
Onsite Workshop Module 1: Define the Current and Target State Module 2: Define the Elicitation Process Module 3: Analyze and Validate Requirements Module 4: Governance and Continuous Improvement Process
Phase 1 Results: Clear understanding of target needs for the requirements process. Phase 2 Results: Best practices for conducting and structuring elicitation. Phase 3 Results: Standardized frameworks for analysis and validation of business requirements. Phase 4 Results: Formalized change control and governance processes for requirements.

Workshop overview

Contact your account representative or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

Workshop Day 1 Workshop Day 2 Workshop Day 3 Workshop Day 4 Workshop Day 5
Activities

Define Current State and Target State for Requirements Gathering

  • Understand current state and document existing requirement process steps.
  • Identify stakeholder, process, outcome, and reigning challenges.
  • Conduct target state analysis.
  • Establish requirements gathering metrics.
  • Identify project levels 1/2/3/4.
  • Match control points to project levels 1/2/3/4.
  • Conduct project scoping and identify stakeholders.

Define the Elicitation Process

  • Understand elicitation techniques and which ones to use.
  • Document and confirm elicitation techniques.
  • Create a requirements gathering elicitation plan for your project.
  • Practice using interviews with business stakeholders to build use case models.
  • Practice using table-top testing with business stakeholders to build use case models.
  • Build the operating model for your project

Analyze and Validate Requirements

  • Categorize gathered requirements for use.
  • Consolidate similar requirements and eliminate redundancies.
  • Practice prioritizing requirements.
  • Rightsize the requirements documentation template.
  • Present the business requirements document (BRD) to business stakeholders.
  • Identify testing opportunities.

Establish Change Control Processes

  • Review existing CR process.
  • Review change control process best practices & optimization opportunities.
  • Build guidelines for escalating changes.
  • Confirm your requirements gathering process for project levels 1/2/3/4.

Establish Ongoing Governance for Requirements Gathering

  • Define RACI for the requirements gathering process.
  • Define the requirements gathering governance process.
  • Define RACI for requirements gathering governance.
  • Define the agenda and cadence for requirements gathering governance.
  • Identify and analyze stakeholders for communication plan.
  • Create communication management plan.
  • Build the action plan.
Deliverables
  • Requirements gathering maturity assessment
  • Project level selection tool
  • Requirements gathering documentation tool
  • Project elicitation schedule
  • Project operating model
  • Project use cases
  • Requirements gathering documentation tool
  • Requirements gathering testing checklist
  • Requirements traceability matrix
  • Requirements gathering communication tracking template
  • Requirements gathering action plan

Phase 1: Build the Target State for the Requirements Gathering Process

Phase 1 outline

Call 1-888-670-8889 or email GuidedImplementations@InfoTech.com for more information.

Complete these steps on your own, or call us to complete a guided implementation. A guided implementation is a series of 2-3 advisory calls that help you execute each phase of a project. They are included in most advisory memberships.

Guided Implementation 1: Build the Target State

Proposed Time to Completion: 2 weeks

Step 1.1: Understand the Benefits of Requirements Optimization

Start with an analyst kick off call:

  • Review Info-Tech’s requirements gathering methodology.

Then complete these activities…

  • Hold a fireside chat.

With these tools & templates:

Requirements Gathering SOP and BA Playbook

Step 1.2: Determine Your Target State for Requirements Gathering

Review findings with analyst:

  • Assess current state for requirements gathering – pains and challenges.
  • Determine target state for business requirements gathering – areas of opportunity.

Then complete these activities…

  • Identify your business process model.
  • Define project levels.
  • Match control points to project level.
  • Identify and analyze stakeholders.

With these tools & templates:

  • Requirements Gathering Maturity Assessment
  • Project Level Selection Tool
  • Business Requirements Analyst job description
  • Requirements Gathering Communication Tracking Template

Phase 1 Results & Insights:

Clear understanding of target needs for the requirements process.

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Average $ Saved

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Average Days Saved

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What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

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Get the help you need in this 4-phase advisory process. You'll receive 9 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation 1: Build the target state for the requirements gathering process
  • Call 1: Review Info-Tech’s requirements gathering methodology.
  • Call 2: Assess current state for requirements gathering – pains and challenges.
  • Call 3: Determine target state for business requirements gathering – areas of opportunity.

Guided Implementation 2: Define the elicitation process
  • Call 1: Assess elicitation techniques and determine best fit to projects and business environment.
  • Call 2: Review options for structuring the output of requirements elicitation (i.e. operating models).

Guided Implementation 3: Analyze and validate requirements
  • Call 1: Create policies for requirements categorization and prioritization.
  • Call 2: Establish best practices for validating the BRD with project stakeholders.

Guided Implementation 4: Create a requirements governance action plan
  • Call 1: Discuss how to handle changes to requirements, and establish a formal change control process.
  • Call 2: Review options for ongoing governance of the requirements gathering process.

Author

Ben Dickie

Contributors

  • Douglas Van Gelder, IT Manager, Community Development Commission of the County of Los Angeles
  • Michael Lyons, Transit Management Analyst, Metropolitan Transit Authority
  • Ken Piddington, CIO, MRE Consulting
  • Thomas Dong, Enterprise Software Manager, City of Waterloo
  • Chad Evans, Director of IT, Ontario Northland
  • Three anonymous contributors

Search Code: 58877
Last Revised: December 4, 2019

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