Prioritizing Requirements

Mastering Business Requirements Elicitation: Part 1 Mastering Business Analysis Requirements Elicitation
6 minutes
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So we're going to talk now about prioritizing those requirements that you've gotten after you've had your requirements sessions. So, at the end of the meeting, or in a follow up meeting, whenever it needs to happen when you feel like you've got complete requirements, those requirements need to be prioritized. So let's look at how we could go about doing that. You are responsible as the BA for prioritizing the requirements, but you are not responsible for assigning the priority. That is what your means stakeholders, sponsors should be doing. They should be telling you the priority.

You're responsible for documenting the priority, but you as the VA should never be determining what the priority of the requirements are. So I just want to make sure it's clear that while it's your responsibility to do it, you're doing it by getting the information From the business side of the project team, some of the terms that are used typically to prioritize requirements are things like must have nice to have optional. Some people use a numbering priority, right like one through three, with a one, meaning that we have to have it and then the three going down to being the optional. So it really doesn't matter quite frankly, how you do it, it just matters that it gets done. It's really important to do the prioritizing step because it sometimes comes into play when considering scope of the project. So in projects must be completed by a specific date, just as most do right we don't have an unlimited amount of time to get projects done.

Sometimes the scope of the project needs to change in order to meet that date, and helps to know which requirements are most important versus least important when the project team is determining what could be held off for a later release instead of going into production in the initial release. Requirements meeting has been in person, then you can use the end of the meeting to do the priority exercise. And that can actually be a fun way to end the meeting. If it's not being done in person, then there are electronic ways of course of doing that. We'll talk about that too. So assuming that you're in person, this is how that exercise can be done.

You can take sheets of colored dots, right, like the little dots that you can get them at any Office Store, you know, even Walmart or any place like that sells them, but they're their little sheets of colored dots. And you have enough different colors to match the number of priorities. So if you have three different priorities, right, number one through three are the must have, should have or an optional that have three different colors of dots, right? The requirements should be listed on like papers hung on the wall. Or if you have too many, obviously, you can't do this if you're doing say 200 requirements at one time, right? But quite frankly, you shouldn't be like You should be talking about things in subjects and around specific processes so that you do this for each process, right?

It shouldn't be all 200 requirements at one time, whatever requirements meeting that you're in, you're doing this, put the requirements up on the wall, and then you give everybody the dots, and you do a certain amount of time and you tell everybody to go up and place their dots next to the requirements based on what category they feel like requirements halted. So if they think it is a must have, then they might use say a green colored.if. They think it's a optional requirement, maybe that's a yellow Once you're finished, then you're adding up all of the color of dots that are related to the must haves, right? So if for example, you have a requirement, let's say you have 10 people and you have a requirement that has six must have dots and then for other people said that it was optional, then it would be included in the Mustang.

Because the majority of people felt like it was a must have, right. So that's one way that you can do the exercise to identify what are must haves, according to the majority of the group. It's important to note here again, that you as the BA, are just leading this exercise, right? You are not the one that is determining what that prioritization is, that should be your semies, your business partners, your stakeholders, your sponsors, it should be done by them, you should just be facilitating the exercise. And that exercise can also spur more discussions related to the priority of certain requirements, right? Because in that situation that I just talked about, where maybe you have six that say one and four that say another, you might want to have a conversation before you just arbitrarily say, well, the six when right, have a conversation about why do you feel like this is a priority and why do you feel like this is optional, and especially when it's that type of difference?

If so, He said, Hey, I think this is a priority. And somebody else said it was a nice to have that's a little different from optional. So it's not as much of a gap in the thought process. But when you have six people saying we absolutely must have it for people saying it's optional all together, then you may want to have that discussion. And if the meeting is by conference call, then you may actually need to email a list of the requirements. So this is one of the other options I was talking about.

If you're not in person, right? You can email list of requirements to everybody, you can get everybody to put their own priorities on them and have them send it back to you. And then you can kind of put together the end results of that there are really any number of methods that can be used to prioritize requirements and my personal opinion, is that it's more important to actually do it than to really agonize over how to do it. So just pick a process that works for you and your team and do it the end goal is that we prioritize it and however you need to do it in order to get that done is fine. It's just a matter of making sure that you go through the exercise and you do it

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