Category Archives: Requirements gathering

Articles, tips, and techniques of eliciting requirements. Business analysts and product managers both practice software requirements gathering. These articles provide tips on how to gather requirements and create conversations about requirements gathering.

Provocateurs Gather the Best Requirements

Ask someone what they want, and they’ll tell you they want a faster horse.  Provoke them, and they’ll tell you they have a ‘get there faster’ problem, an ‘equine waste disposal’ problem, and issues with total cost of ownership.

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A Prototype is Worth a Thousand Lines of Code

A picture is worth a thousand words.  A prototype is worth a thousand lines of code.  Two key elements of product management – and of agile development are elicitation and feedback.  Low fidelity artifacts can significantly improve both.  Polished, codified prototypes can create problems that prevent you from getting the benefits of communication.

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The High Costs of Building the Wrong Product

A Praying Mantis

As product managers, we talk about creating the right solutions with our products. Understanding the very real problems our customers face, understanding the very real opportunities our markets present, and manifesting that understanding in a product roadmap.

Other than being “not as good,” how expensive is it to build the wrong product?
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Business Goals and Requirements

Inventory in a warehouse

One of my colleagues got into a debate with one of his colleagues about the differences between goals and requirements.  His opponent fired the following salvo: “[That] is not a business requirement in any company of the world…”

What you call your requirements is less important than how you communicate them.

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Stakeholders in a Barrel

There’s really only one way to travel down a waterfall – in a barrel.  A lot of people died this way, but some survived.  Software projects have been predominantly waterfall projects since the start of software projects.  And stakeholders rode down those projects, basically in a barrel.  The people riding Niagara Falls 100 years ago didn’t know if they would survive until they got to the end.  Stakeholders in waterfall projects don’t know if they will succeed until the end.

An agile project is dependent upon tight interaction (and feedback) with stakeholders.

If you’re running an agile project, and your stakeholders are old-school barrel-riders, how do you make it work?

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Hidden Business Rule Example

Little girl hiding by covering her face

A business process is not just a sequence of steps.  A business process is a series of decisions and actions.  Some decisions are obvious and can be actively managed.  Some decisions are hidden, and until you discover them, you can’t manage or improve them.  Here is a real-world example of the discovery of a hidden enterprise decision.

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Successful Products: Lucky or Intentional?


Is your product successful because you were lucky, or because you were methodical and intentional?

Do you want to build a plan where you are dependent on good fortune, or do you want to make your own “luck?” Both approaches work, but only one makes sense as an intention. Slide 3 of your presentation to a venture capitalist should not say “And then we get lucky!”

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