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Eliciting stakeholder requirements refers to the process of working with stakeholders to understand what they want to achieve through the project or to understand how the business is organized today.

Eliciting stakeholder requirements goes beyond collecting needs by proactively identifying additional needs not explicitly provided by stakeholders. Relevant stakeholders who represent all phases of the product lifecycle in the acquirer’s intended environment should include business as well as technical functions.

Using this approach, needs for all product related lifecycle processes are considered concurrently with concepts for acquired products.

An analysis of business processes is a common source of stakeholder needs, expectations, constraints, and interfaces. Additional needs typically address project lifecycle activities and their impact on the product.

Examples of techniques to elicit needs from stakeholders include:

  • Questionnaires and interviews
  • Brainstorming
  • Technology demonstrations
  • Quality Function Deployment
  • Market surveys
  • Prototypes and models
  • Interim project reviews
  • Operational walkthroughs and end-user task analyses

Effective requirements elicitation is an area that is critical to the success of projects. Ironically, it is a process often overlooked by many analysts. This oversight can be costly to the project in terms of time and budget but, more importantly, could lead to incomplete requirements or, even worse, a failed project.

A Standish Group report lists “incomplete requirements” as the leading cause of software project failure and reveals that poor requirements account for 50% of project failures. Poor requirements are a result of sub-standard elicitation which may also lead to scope creep, budget overrun and inadequate process redesign.

Elicitation is important as many stakeholders are unable to accurately articulate the business problem. Therefore, analysts performing the elicitation need to ensure that the requirements produced are clearly understandable, useful and relevant. A well-defined problem and clear requirements will go a long way to creating the correct solution that adds value to the business.

Want to learn more? Tonex offers Eliciting Stakeholder Requirements Training, a 2-day course that provides the key concepts of stakeholder requirements elicitation. It introduces various tools and methods of collecting information and requirements from project’s stakeholders.

Participants also learn about the common challenges, disadvantages and concerns associated with each method and technique.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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