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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Requirements gathering: DragonPoint Article (#1)

Requirements gathering for a software project (that you really need to expand or maintain your business) is a tough job; the toughness is because it is not an exact science. It depends on the type of project, depends on the nature of the people who will enumerate the requirements, and it depends on the capability of the team that does the actual requirements gathering. In such a scenario, it makes sense to read as much as possible about the requirements process so that one is aware of the best practices, about different use cases in which the process has worked, and so on.
A lot of companies that want to get hire consultants for this critical stage, and here is a great first part of an article at Dragon Point that talks about 5 steps (out of a total of 10) to become better at requirements gathering:

Any needs not identified during the requirements capture stage will result in scope creep. According to Suzie DeBusk, President of DragonPoint, the most effective way to minimize scope creep is to allocate 30% of the time spent on a project to requirements capture, design, and review. How does requirements capture reduce scope creep?
The requirements capture stage is similar to the planning phase of a construction project. If the client and architect do not communicate effectively, the blueprints will not meet the client's needs. And, depending on the size and scope of the discrepancies, this error in communication can result in costly rework as the project evolves.

As per the article, the following are the main points:
1. Be prepared for the initial consultation.
2. Remember your current system
3. Communicate.
4. Look for listening.
5. Listen for insightful questions that demonstrate you and your consultant share common goals.

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