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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Eliciting Requirements - what are basic guidelines for conducting collaborative requirements gathering meeting? PART 1

For collaborative requirements gathering, stakeholders and developers work together to identify the problem, propose a solution and negotiate approaches. The basic guidelines include:
- software engineers and customers attend meetings.
- rules for preparation and participation are established.
- agenda that covers important points and encourage free flow of ideas.
- meeting is controlled by a facilitator who can be a customer, developer or an outsider.
- worksheets, wall stickers, chat room etc. are used.
- goal is to identify the problem, propose a solution and negotiate approaches.

If a system or product will serve many users, one should be certain that requirements are elicited from representative cross-section of users. If only one user defines all requirements, acceptance risk is high. As requirements gathering meeting begins, the first point of discussion is need and justification of the new product. Once agreement is established, each participant presents his lists for discussion in one particular area. After this, combined list is prepared by group after which facilitator coordinates discussion.
Avoid the impulse to shoot down a customer's idea as "too costly" or impractical. The idea is to negotiate a list that is acceptable to all.

Once the lists are completed, team is divided into sub teams and each works to develop mini specifications. Additions, deletions and elaborations are made. After this, each attendee makes a list of validation criteria and finally one or more participant is assigned the task of writing a complete draft specification.

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