Project Management

7 Steps to Successful Project Requirements Gathering

Requirements are the direction and the guardrails on a project. They specify all the general work that must be done in order to satisfy stakeholders and push strategy forward with project completion. In an article for TechRepublic, Moira Alexander shares seven steps to get requirements gathering right:

  1. Identify all project stakeholders.
  2. Ask stakeholders the right questions.
  3. Determine the best requirements-gathering techniques.
  4. Document everything.
  5. Analyze the results.
  6. Verify the results.
  7. Obtain sign-off.

A Humble Gathering

While it is not advisable to hunt down literally every single possible stakeholder on a project, it is still crucial to identify the majority of them. Key stakeholders must be identified, but second- or third-tier stakeholders can be just as important. For instance, a lower-priority-but-still-important stakeholder that you have overlooked might come to you late in the project, demanding a change that throws the whole project out of whack. You can avoid such scenarios by being thorough in stakeholder identification and having the right conversations with them early on. Dig deep and have multiple conversations if necessary, since stakeholders themselves may not know what they want at first, and it is up to you to help them make up their minds.

About how specifically to gather requirements, Alexander writes this:

There are multiple requirements gathering techniques that can be used – such as brainstorming, one-on-one interviews, focus groups, direct observation, surveys, prototyping, and reverse engineering – each of which offers specific benefits depending on the nature of the project. Each technique will have its pros and cons; make sure to evaluate each of them to identify the best solution for application. Not all techniques will be suitable for every project. It is best to use more than one technique to make sure the requirements identification is accurate by dissecting things from different angles. This reduces the chances of key details falling through the cracks.

Whatever information you uncover, big and small, document all of it. A detail you think is minor at the time might prove to be a big deal later, so best to play it safe in that regard.

Then comes the time to analyze and verify the findings. Confirm that the results are properly categorized and prioritized, and invite stakeholders to make comment on it and clear up any lingering uncertainties. After that, you are ready to present the requirements to your sponsor for sign-off, and then the project will have formally taken shape.

For additional elaboration, you can view the original article here:

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