Discovering Requirements makes use of different ‘behavioral’ techniques that will be familiar to anyone involved in systems development: find the key business experts and:
- interview them individually, or
- gather them in groups for structured discovery sessions (usually faster than individual interviews)
If access to the experts is limited or there is a very large number of experts, you may need to resort to questionnaires or other less direct methods, but I avoid these if I can, as they are inherently less effective. Of course, you should first read all documentation, policies, procedures and other source material relevant to the business that you can find. There may not always be much of this material, and it may sometimes be out-of-date, but find and use what you can.
The interesting thing is that there actually are a lot of books and training on the use of Behavioral Techniques for discovery of requirements. I have worked at companies where the Analysis phase of their System Development Methodologies covers nothing but Behavioral Techniques. As a result, I don’t think I will be writing much on this topic in upcoming posts. However, I find that these sources include little or nothing on how to effectively document the requirements after discovery, such that they can be agreed to by the business, and communicated to system designers and developers….. Documentation Techniques for Requirements is where I will focus my efforts at this site, starting with the next Posting.