Brainstorming Requirement Techniques

Mastering Business Requirements Elicitation: Part 2 Mastering Requirements Elicitation Part 2
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So we've been talking about eliciting requirements. Let's take a look at some different techniques that you can use to elicit requirements. We spend some time talking about how important it is to make sure that your requirements are complete. But one of the ways that you're doing that, of course, is by going through the exercise of talking to your stakeholders and getting the requirements from them. And there are some different types of meetings if you will types of ways to get at requirements. So we're going to go through those.

The first technique we're going to look at is brainstorming. brainstorming is considered a group facilitation technique. And it's used in requirement sessions to generate ideas, approaches and issues and risks. brainstorming is a creative process that's going to facilitate creative thinking to allow the participants to look for solutions that they may not have previously considered. When you're using this process, you want to bring together a group of sneeze, that possess the required domain knowledge to solve complex problems and focus on innovative solutions. So it doesn't do you any good to have people in the brainstorming session that aren't very familiar with the topic at hand, right.

So make sure you've got the right people involved when you're going to use the brainstorming technique. Because business is increasingly complex and has many interrelated parts. It really requires the contribution of a lot of different experts with diverse skills and perspectives. Using the brainstorming method is an effective way to bring those people together. brainstorming is also a great tool to use to gain consensus, like everybody in agreement. So this is an effective tool when you need all groups to support the decisions after leaving the meeting.

Right. So if you want everybody to be on the same page, you want everybody to kind of jump on the On the same bandwagon if you will and support the decisions that are being made, then brainstorming is a great technique to use. So there are a few different types of brainstorming. Individual, open and structured. Individual means a project team member creates a list of ideas concerning a project or issue. Open means meeting participants call out ideas that are captured by the meeting facilitator or scribe.

This is an efficient process when team dynamics are good and individual skill sets are strong. Structured is when meeting participants silently write down their ideas and the facilitator then requests that each person in turn shares an idea and each person can only share one idea. However, the meeting continues until all ideas have been shared, but you do one round first, and then you go back to the first person and do another round and so on until all ideas have been depicted. Just don't want one person dominating the conversation and only getting a chance to share their ideas. So that's why you do the one at a time in a structured brainstorming type. Some rules for brainstorming are, first of all, decide on the type of brainstorming, right?

If it's going to be open or structured, and then stick to it clearly and concisely state the objective of the meeting. And by the way, I just want to point out that as the business analysts leading the meeting, you're the one that should make the decision about the type of brainstorming whether or not it's open or structured. So I just want to make that point clear that you're the one that makes the decision about that. And then again, clearly and concisely stating the objective of the meeting. And then create an environment where participants feel encouraged to participate and believe that their time is used effectively. You want them to feel like they were productive in the meeting.

Some rules for brainstorming as far as some things that you should say at the beginning of the session to make sure that everybody is coming at it from the same perspective is, one don't discuss the ideas during the brainstorming session the brainstorming session is just to get ideas out there right not to discuss them in detail. Do not dismiss an idea because that can cause a person to clam up and no longer share ideas. Do not discount a person or an idea for the same reason as above, right, we want them to continue participating in the meeting. The only discussion that you can have during the meeting is questions to clarify the idea. build on each other's ideas and suggestions during the meeting. Have fun with it.

And the VA should give rewards for the craziest ideas, right that might help people to be more engaged in it. You should have a timekeeper a facilitator and a scribe the scribe is used to capture the ideas right in attendance for the meeting. And sometimes quite frankly, you're playing all three of those roles. But if you have the opportunity to have different people than You know, great, there's other people, but if not, then you may at least want to designate somebody in the room to kind of be the person to be that timekeeper, to say, hey, it's time to break or it's time for lunch or depending on how long your meeting is, if you just want to designate somebody else to help with that, because you may not be paying attention to the time when you're acting as the facilitator and maybe also acting as the scribe.

Right. So timekeeper is sometimes something that you can give out as a test to somebody else that's in the room, you want to determine the process that you're going to use for combining like and similar ideas and categorizing and summarizing the brainstorm results, right, you need to be able to put things together that go together, right? So come up with a process for that. You want to publish an agenda prior to the meeting. You want to schedule multiple meetings, if the issue or project is complex, and you know, you're just not gonna be able to get everything in one meeting. You also want to go ahead once you determine what those follow up meetings are, you need to schedule the initial meeting.

Write, you may not necessarily schedule the follow up meetings right away, because quite frankly, I like to wait and see if I really got that, right. So for example, if I'm talking about a topic, and I think that a topic is going to take two sessions, right, like, there's no way, I'm gonna get through this in an hour, I can only do one hour meetings. And I know that this is going to take two hours, I don't schedule both sessions. At that same time, I will usually schedule the first session, and then wait and see how far I got with that before I scheduled the second session. Now, there are times when I will tell you that you need to go ahead and schedule the follow up sessions and then cancel them if they're not needed. And that's if people's schedules are really tight, and you have trouble getting on people's calendars, then go ahead and schedule the meetings and get them out there.

And that way, you can just cancel them if you don't need them. You can use other internal resources. So there could be other ways not necessarily assigned to your project but that you might be able to get to help you with just kind of sorting through things. Get them to take a look at it. If you Officially at more than one VA assigned a project and that's awesome. You guys should get together and sort the categories of the items into different categories.

But if not, you know, offer to buy somebody lunch and get them to help you with it. It's sometimes it's just worth that, you know, five or 10 bucks for lunch did to get some added help and a different perspective on things. Use prioritization techniques to short the ideas. Votes can be given to team members just like how we talked about prioritizing requirements. You can prioritize ideas in pretty much the same way as well.

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