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9 yards of requirements elicitation

Image of LN Mishra, CBAP, CBDA, AAC & CCA


All of us must have heard this proverb "A stitch in time saves nine" umpteen number of times in our lives. However, when it comes to elicitation, we tend to forget the same.

Elicitation is possibly the most important job we business analysts do. I am surprised that many of us understand only a few facets of elicitation such as requirements gathering and recording.

Elicitation is much more than requirements gathering and recording. A good elicitation activity can significantly reduce effort in changes in requirements and subsequent changes to design, construction and testing activities.

Here is an attempt to make our elicitation exercises more effective.

1. Gather requirements:

Gather requirements from various sources, the primary one being from stakeholders. Requirements can also be from existing system documentation, competitor system documentation or from existing system interfaces.

2. Record requirements:

Gathered requirements must be recorded for future use.

3. Tracing requirements:

Guard against scope creep while eliciting requirements.

4. Validate requirements:

Validate requirements by tracing requirements back to the business goals/objectives. Also, check if requirements provide suitable value for the cost of development.

5. Analyze requirements:

Analyze requirements to ensure you have received complete requirements and exceptions are covered.

6. Capture attributes:

Elicit, and capture requirements attributes during elicitation. Requirement attributes help in managing requirements life cycle.

7. Verify requirements:

Verify requirements to ensure requirements meet agreed upon quality criteria (coherence, consistent, clear, correct, feasible etc.).

8. Confirm requirements:

Confirm requirements to ensure verified requirements are in alignment with sources of requirements.

9. Capture effort:

Capture actual time for elicitation. This provides a basis for future planning.

Would be happy to learn from my fellow BAs as to any other aspect that we should care for while eliciting requirements.

Happy reading and have a wonderful day and do provide your suggestions and comments.

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