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8 Strategies for Gathering Requirements from Execs

Like any well-planned and sustained endeavor, it pays to do your homework first. That’s why project requirements are most always sought in the form of eliciting information from the executive office. At this pre-phase of the project process, a business analyst will need to establish the elicitation framework, with attention to discovery, analysis, understanding, and validation. A post by Marian Haus on the Voices on Project Management blog gives eight strategies for customizing this process to fit the executive culture at your organization.

1. Preemptive Information
Spontaneous Interaction

The executive is an elusive creature. You will want to know their communication style before you make contact. When you do confront them, prepare to collect information spontaneously and in an informal setting like the lunch room or at the coffee machine.

3.Trim your Script 

You will have little time to use extensive discovery techniques. Instead, take advantage of summaries, pros and cons lists, or visual descriptions. Engage in straight talk that dispenses with technical jargon in favor of narratives to convey important points.  

4. Sell them on Solutions
5. Respect their Time
6. Open with the Outcome

Stress the positive. Executives as a group rely on upbeat attitudes and working solutions to help them navigate the network of decisions they face on a regular basis. Additionally, a waste of time (listening to an indirect business analyst collect info on a project) is anathema. Get to the point fast if you want to get the info required to move forward. One way to save the busy exec some time is by opening with the outcome, then getting to the “how” after you have their attention.  

7. Remain Flexible to Risk-Aversion
8. Serve them Strategy

Don’t forget to dodge the minefield of the risk-averse executive by having risk mitigation and risk response options available. Go straight for the strategic stuff. You know, like finances (ROI), business visions, or product concepts / innovations.  

Read the full post at:

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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