In my last post, I suggested that any company could learn to gather their own requirements. The two biggest barriers to this seem to be either that the person tasked with this feels overwhelmed and just doesn’t know where to start -or- that they literally just don’t have the time to do it.
While I can’t add time to your day, I CAN give you some tips to get started:
- Get learning materials. Don’t start from scratch. There are books and courses out there. They’ll help you understand how to ask questions in a way that pulls the requirements from the people you’ll interview and what format to put these in.
- Ask for help. If you know anyone in your company who has done this, before, ask for some guidance from them. If you’ve met people at an industry conference or are going to one, ask around to find out who has done this, before, and might be willing to give you some tips when you feel stuck.
- Don’t “settle.” If you don’t understand or believe an answer, don’t settle for it. This is where the process gets tricky because finding a way to reask the question without alienating the person giving the answers is a skill most of us have to continuously work at.
One thing that will seem frustrating is that some of the requirements you gather won’t be correct – you’ll have accidentally gathered something that someone THINKS they want but that they really don’t want – it was not well thought-out. All I can say is that you’ll learn to spot these more easily as you get more experience AND it happens to all of us. No-one can spot all the clinkers. So, even if you’re just getting started, you’re not as far behind as you might think.