Requirement Session Project Example

Mastering Business Requirements Elicitation: Part 2 Mastering Requirements Elicitation Part 2
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Okay, we're going to look at a example of a requirement session. So if I were in a live in person training session, then I would have multiple people playing roles in this requirement session. I call it a requirement session play. But because I am doing this as part of a recorded training, I'm going to have to play the role of everybody. So I'm going to display on the screen the words basically of what's being said as part of the requirements session, so that you can follow along with who the actors are. So let's get started.

Some background. First, we have Smiths pools, Smith pools has been in business for 15 years. They install new pools, repair existing pools, install pool equipment, such as pumps. heaters and do pool maintenance via warranty and maintenance contracts. The company has both commercial and residential clients. Smith's pools is moving from storing data in an Access database to using an oracle database.

Today the data is manually entered by data entry clerk in the office from the documentation the installers bring back from the field. The project goal is to convert all data currently stored in the Access database to the new Oracle database. Going forward data will be captured in spreadsheets in the field and stored on the network. That data will then be auto uploaded into the new database. This is your first project at this company. And as the VA You don't know anything about installing pulls your equipment.

Your first task is to document current business processes. So why would you do that? It's just data conversion and loading new data. There's no user interface to be concerned with. So why worry about current business processes the reason That is because you need to see all of the points where data is collected in the various business processes, right, because we're talking about converting data, we need to understand where that data is coming from. So there are some sneeze in the room, from the different areas of the business that you think that you as the BA are going to talk to.

We have Joe who's been doing residential installs for five years. Mike, who's been doing commercial installs for three years. Sally is an admin and data entry clerk in the office. So she's the one that's entering the data today in the Access database. And john does pool equipment installs and maintenance for pools. Susan is the sales rep for the company.

So there's all your space that you have in the room with you, you need to pick a starting point. So let's assume you start with the residential pool installation process. Your enter requirements meeting and us this means to explain the process from beginning to end for installing a new pool in a single family home location. Since Joe is the one who's been doing the residential installs, he's the one that explains the process. Joe says, Well, I go out to the site on work day one, and the first thing we do is get the hole dug in the yard where the pool will be. And then we lay the wire and we also installed the pump.

On day two, we go back and pour the concrete. We give it three days for the concrete to set. And then we go back and we grind the concrete smooth and put a finishing coat on the concrete. We cover the pool and let the finishing coat dry for one day. The next day we go back and partially fill the pool and inspect for any leaks. We continue filling the pool and inspecting until the pool is full and we verify there are no leaks.

And that's it. We're done with the installation. So now you've been told the pool installation process, but nothing was mentioned about capturing any data. So let's take a look at this process that we've been given by Joe and start to analyze it By the way, I just want to mention that I try not to interrupt me when they're giving me a process. I don't want to break up their train of thought, as they're going through it. So I will take down the process.

And then I asked my questions after they're done. So that's why I just let Joe talk. I didn't interrupt him. I let him get through his process. But now I have to ask questions, because in the process he gave me there was nothing related to data, right, which is what my focus is on. So the conversation with Joe should go something like this.

Great. Thanks, Joe. Let's back up to the beginning of the process. You said on day one of the install you go out and dig the hole for the pool. Jeff says that's right. He says how do you know how big of a hole to deck Joe says we have paperwork from the main office that tells us that to be it says Do you know how the main office gets that info.

Joe says the salesman that sold the pool gives the office that info he or she does the measurements and based on the pool the buyer chooses the salesperson tells them what type of pool and what size to install. So I just want to point out that I've already missed talking about a requirement. Before I asked how the main office gets the info. I should have asked Joe how he gets the info from the main office right so I should have been working backwards. How did he get the info and then how does the office get the info? So now the VA is moving on to as Susan a question right?

Because Susan is that sales person? Susan, as the sales Smee for the project, can you help us out with understanding the sales process? Susan says Sure. When we go out to a customer site and make a sale, the Customer Picks what type of pool they want, what size I measure the yard and find the best place for the pool. I put sticks in each corner with rope around them to rope off the area the pool will be when it gets installed. I take down the measurements and the pool selection info and turn it into the home office that day or the next day.

Thanks, Susan. I have a couple of questions for you. How many pull shapes are there to choose from Susan says three, how many pool sizes three for each shape? So a total of nine pool size and shape options. Susan says Yes, that's correct. Now we have Mike our commercial Smee that interrupts to say that they have four shapes.

They also offer three pool types, Olympic regular, and maybe they do not offer pool size because the size is dictated by the type. So the B says, So Mike, what you're saying is that you really do offer three pool sizes, but in the commercial world, they're called types instead of sizes. Is that correct? Mike? Well, yeah, I guess that is correct. Ba Okay.

Great. I'll make note of that now, but let's make sure we get to that in the commercial process when we're discussing the complete process for that later today. So notice how as a VA, I had to bring Mike back around to the fact that we're not talking commercial right now. We're talking residential. So now we move back to Susan. How do you know to go to that customer site for this sales conversation.

Susan says the customer contacts the home office and they send one of us out based on location. We have certain territories we cover. Thanks, Susan. Sally, I'd like to ask you a couple of questions about the office procedures you use when a potential customer calls him. Sally says, Okay, sure. So our first question to Sally is what do you do when a customer calls in to make a sales appointment?

And Sally says I asked for their address and contact information. I enter that info in the Access database where we store potential customer data. I then discussed dates and times and we pick a date and time that works for them for the salesperson. And I enter the appointment date in the customer record, Mike commercial, he interrupts again and says this won't work for commercial. That isn't the way commercial does it. They only get commercial sales from salespeople going out to potential sites potential customer clients do not call the main office for an appointment.

The VA says remember Mike, we aren't talking about a solution. At this point, we're talking about current business process. So this is referring to how Sally captures information today for the residential process. Mike says, Oh, yes, sorry. I was thinking solution, not current process. He says no problem.

Mike, let me ask you a clarifying questions. Andre brought up the commercial process. Even though today we don't have potential customer clients calling in for appointments, do we need to restrict that? In other words, if a commercial person were to call in, would we say we couldn't help them? Because we don't accept calls from commercial organizations for potential sales? Mike says Well, no, and probably looks at you like you're a little nutty.

We would take their name and number and give it to a salesperson for their area so they could call them back. The VA says how would we know who the salesperson was for their area? Mike says we asked for their address, VA says so it looks like the commercial processes fairly close to the residential in regards to this area. If they happen to call the main office, we would still ask for name, number and address. We'll document more specifics around this when we get into the complete commercial process later today. So you see how the BA, one brought Mike back again, the fact that we're doing the residential process, but also made him realize that his process really isn't all that different from the residential process.

So he needs to stop maybe thinking so much about how this won't work for them. You don't say that to them, but you just start pointing things out, right. So the VA says what contact information are you capturing in the Access database and Sally says complete address first and last name, at least one phone number, but we can get to numbers, like the home number and a cell number. And we asked for an email address. The VA says Okay, thanks. When you're making the appointment, how do you know what time sales person has available?

Sally says we use Microsoft Outlook and I have access to all the sales people's calendars so I can see when they're available. Va says so when you make an appointment, you update the salesperson calendar and outlook. Sally says Yes, that's correct. The base has an all the customer data is entered in the Access database along with the appointment time. And Sally agrees that that's correct. So now she goes back to Susan.

Susan, let's go back to you for a minute and talk about the sales data you're collecting. When a customer decides to make a purchase, what data is it you're collecting? Susan says the size and shape of the pool they want and the measurements of the area where the pool will go. I also determine if there are trees that need to be remic. If so I take down how many trees have to be removed and what size they are small, medium or large. By the way, I just want to point out here that if they don't tell you size options when they tell you that there are sizes then you need to ask when they tell you that they say that they're collecting the size and shape of the pool.

And right there you know that you need to find out well what are the different options so that you're able to have that set up within the database And then also the same thing for the trees, they determine if there are any trees that need to be removed and what size they are. So again, that's an indicator to you that you need to be able to collect the size of the tree. So you need to have a place in the database for that. And you need to know what the different options are, which in this case are small, medium and large. The VA says you mentioned turning in the sales data to the home office that day or the next day. How do you turn it in?

Do you email it, take it to the office? How do they get it? Susan says I go into the office once per day and I drop off whatever data I have at that point. If I have a late afternoon appointment, I may not take it into the office until the next day. The VA says and what form is the data in? Do you type it into a document or do you write it down on some sort of sales form and turn it in on handwritten paper?

Susan says it's handwritten on a sales form where I have some boxes I can check off for size and shape. And then I add the information about Tree Removal on a section on the paper for additional notes basis. Okay, thanks, Susan. Sally, let's go back to you for a minute. Once Susan delivers all of that sales info to the office, does that data come to you? and Sally says, Yes, the sales forms come to my group so that the data can be entered in the Access database.

Do you add it to the record that's already created when the customer made the appointment? Or is the sale a new record in the database? So he says no, we just add the data to the existing customer record, we don't create a new record for the sale. He says, Okay, tell me what data you enter for the sale. And Sally says, Well, you know, we already have the customer data from when we first initially entered them as a potential customer. So now we enter the pool shape and size and if any trees need to be removed, all of the other customer data is you know, already there would be says okay, what happens next in the process.

I know at some point Joe is going to install the pool but what happens between the time you enter sales data to the time Joe installs, and Sally says based on the sales data Order supplies for the installation, reserve equipment and schedule an install date and the bases where the supplies order from. And Sally says our vendors, we order concrete to be delivered from the concrete shop we order the pool pump from our pump supplier. We order dump trucks and backhoes from the big equipment rental company we use. All supplies are ordered from each vendor after I schedule the installation date after talking to the customer to get available dates from them, and looking at the installers, calendar and outlook. So what do we know now from that we know that we don't have to be concerned with storing supply data in the database, right because we don't store any supplies.

We don't manage inventory because our vendors are doing all of that for us. Right We don't store any actual inventory. And then Sally says after we decide on an install date, I add the info to the installers calendar. Va says Joe let's go back to the install process for a minute. What if there are trees that need to be removed when done happen because remember, in our process, he didn't tell us that. Just as we do that first thing on day one, if we need to remove trees, the bee says, okay, and after you complete the pool installation, what do you do?

Is there any data you collect any paperwork that you turn into the home office? Joe says, Yeah, we record the pool size and shape we installed. If we remove any trees, we say what size and how many. And of course the date we started the install the date we completed the install. We take that to the home office and turn it into Sally's group. The VA says okay, Sally, what do you do with the install data you get from Joe?

He says we enter it in the same customer record where we entered the sales data. He says okay, let me ask you a question. You wanted to pull shape and size as part of the sale. And then you entered again, as part of the install? Sally says Yes, that's correct. He says, Okay, do you enter different fields than you entered in the sales information?

Or are you overlaying the data? And she says, No, we entered in a different one. We have a sale, pool size and shape field. And the install pool size and shape fields. Can I ask you why you record that info twice? Isn't it always the same?

Sally says not necessarily. Sometimes there are issues that come up during the install that caused them to have to change the size or shape. So we capture both. So we know what was ordered, and then what was actually installed. Okay, gotcha. Thanks for explaining.

Is there anything else that happens as part of the residential install process that we should know about? If they don't offer up anything else, then say, okay, I'd like to do a high level recap of what I've captured for the install process. And you guys can let me know if I've missed anything. Let's take a 15 minute break, and then we'll do the recap. So in this case, they get the 15 minute break, and you get 15 minutes to do a quick ordering of the tasks, and hopefully then still have enough time for a restroom break for yourself. So now let's assume that 15 minute break is over.

And you've kind of ordered the things that they've told you. So you would say okay, let's go For this process at a high level and see if I've missed anything. So here's our process. customer calls home office to request a sales appointment. Sales appointment is made and customer data is captured in the Access database. salesperson makes a sale and capture sales data that is then handed over to the home office, Home Office ad sales data to the customer record in the Access database.

Installation date is scheduled and supplies and equipment are ordered from vendors. The install gets completed, the install data is hand delivered to the home office. And the installed data is added to the customer record in the Access database. Anything to add? I've got the details here about what data is being captured. But as far as the flow goes, is there anything in the process that we're missing?

And of course at that point, if they tell you that there is then you'll add those necessary steps. And then here's a few more questions that I would ask right some other things that would come to me that I need to ask? So I would ask when the sale takes place, how does the customer pay? I would also ask, Is there a warranty included with the pole? Right? Because there was originally some talk about warranty.

And then I would ask some follow up questions that are related to that. So this is going to spur more discussion, we would continue to ask them some other questions related to that warranty process. So we might ask them if it gets offered to them again later if they don't purchase it the first time. And Sally might say, well, we do sell from the people calling in about them, but we also call them 120 days before the current warranty is expiring and remind them that they only have 60 days left if they want to purchase an extended warranty. Which then would make me ask the question, how do you know who to call and when to call them and Sally says we get a report from the Access database with the warranty expiration dates and we figure out who needs to be contacted Based on when their warranties expiring, the Bs, how often do you get the report?

Sally says I run the report from Microsoft reporting. I asked her how often she runs it, she says once a week, and then I asked for a copy of the report. Why? Because if we're going to move to a new database, and we're probably going to have to make some updates to that report, so we want to see what it looks like right now. And then that might lead you to another question. Right.

So the VA says, I was planning to ask if there were any reports created for the sales and installation data. We know we have a report on the warranty data. Are there other reports, and Sally says there's a sales report that runs daily. And it's used by the accounting department to see the total dollar amount of the sales for each day. And then we would ask Sally to give us a copy of that report as well. And we would then ask if there were other reports, Susan would say there's a report that shows the number of sales by salesperson and that all the salespeople get a copy of that report each week.

Again, we're going to ask for a copy of that report. Now When Sally says we add the sales info to the customer record and that we add the sales person's name, then we have another question. Right. So now we're backing up, we said that we got all the data. Now turns out, we don't have all the data by asking more questions, we find out that there's more data. So the VA says, okay, so along with the size and shape of the pool and trees during your move, you also capture the salespersons name, Sally says yes.

And the sales ID. And I asked what is the sales ID and the sales person's employee ID? vases. Okay, great. I'll be sure to add that info as information that we capture for the sale. So see how more conversation brought out a missed requirement to capture the salesperson name and ID we might ask now, are there any other reports that anyone is aware of?

No. Okay, we'll move on to the commercial installations. Mike, can you tell us about the commercial installation process might finally get his opportunity to speak up at this point. So at this point, you're going to go through the same thing You deal with the residential install process. Don't ask Mike to just tell you where his process is different from the residential process. This is really important.

Most likely, since he's commercial, he's not going to know the residential process that well. And you can't expect him to remember everything that we just discussed in the meeting. So just get him to start talking from the beginning and go through the same process for commercial that you did for residential, including those three final questions around payment, warranty and reporting. So you see why it was important to document the current business process and to expand on what the Smiths are telling you. If you don't ask questions, you wouldn't have known all of the points where data is captured or what specific data needed to be captured. Once you get the current processes documented.

If your project is allowing for upgrades, this would be the time to start asking if there's other data that would be useful to capture that is not being captured today. Now, if you say it to somebody in that way, they're probably going to say no, there's nothing else I can think of right? Because you're basically asking them a yes or no question. So instead, you might say it in a different way, something like what other data do you need in order to make the system more effective to you? What other data do you wish you had that you don't have today? So ask them questions more like that rather than it closed question of that just gives a yes or no answer.

If you're on a project that specifies it's a conversion only project and no changes are budgeted for the project, then you do not want to lead this means down the path of what they might want to add or change. It's important to make sure that you understand what the scope of the project is, so that you don't start talking about things and then later have to tell them Oh, hey, you know what, I know I asked you about that, but you don't get to have it. So make sure that you're not doing that. And then of course, when you got back to your desk, you're going to document the process flow, maybe in a Visio diagram or whatever tool it is that you're doing. company uses. And you would go through the process of reviewing that going back together with the same team and reviewing it with them to make sure that you documented that accurately.

So that's an example of how our requirements session can go, where you have several different speeds that you have to talk to as you're working through the process and figuring out what the different steps are that they do.

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