Requirements elicitation and validation – It’s all about a good story

During any project, the process whereby the business analyst validates the requirements gathered from the project stakeholders is of utmost importance. Getting the collection signed off and frozen is key, but we all know it’s a challenge, and it’s not going to happen at the first attempt.

When I think about how to do this, I always think about the end game. The aim of validating these requirements should create the foundations of a story that ultimately leaves your audience happy. Taking your stakeholders through that story and ensuring they are engaged and contribute is vital, as transparency is key. As with most things the best stories are created through a degree of interaction and collaboration.

What makes up a good story? These are obvious but the main components of a story are; themes and plots (scope and objectives), a setting (offices or location) and of course the characters (requirements and contraints) who sit on both the good and bad side of the fence.

In these initial sessions don’t expect to present a complete story it will be a work in progress. The first session will hopefully further cement the theme, plot and the main characters of the story. Sometimes in presenting an incomplete story to your stakeholders provides the group the opportunity and ability to expand and work towards completing it. This process will further the develop the group dynamics and ultimately allow you to validate your final requirements more effectively. How this achieved is up to you, as there are many ways and tools you can use.

One thing I always do throughout the project is to cast my mind back to the story to know I am on the right track. The end game is always to deliver the project something to a happy stakeholder and the story is key.

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