Connect with us


12 Techniques for Requirement Gathering



12 Techniques for Requirement Gathering

Requirements are the foundation of any project, technology integration or product changeover in business and knowing what specific requirements are the goal of a company or client can ensure a project’s level of success. There are several ways to figure out requirements, known as requirement gathering methods, and most involve the users of the item, software or product needing improvement. Knowing the various requirement gathering techniques can help you develop professional capabilities to use in any industry or role. In this article, we explore what requirement gathering is and take an in-depth look at 12 ways to gather requirement information.

What is requirement gathering?

Requirement gathering is the act of generating a list of requirements to define what a project is about and its goal. You can gather insights from the stakeholders, whether they are clients, employee users, consumers or vendors. Requirement gathering often acts as the blueprints of a project. Poorly established requirements can have a negative impact, while properly established ones can lead to success.

Most often there are two types of requirements:

  • Functional: These requirements are the processes, information and interactions that the client wants built and includes how the system and its environment interact.

  • Non functional: These requirements are about operational and technical aspects, like encryption, security, disaster recovery, hosting and business continuity.

Requirement gathering is most often used in business, particularly around information technology (IT), and knowing about the two requirement types can help you in selecting a proper requirement gathering technique that best suites the project you are working on. For example, a business analyst hired to upgrade the software platforms of a regional health insurance company would use requirement gathering to understand the current system, how its users interact with it and what features or functions they would like to have to determine what systems are good alternatives or how to build one for team.

12 requirement gathering techniques

Each requirement gathering technique has advantages. Cost and time are important factors when picking which method to use and many times you can use more than one to ensure you gather all the relevant information needed. Here are 12 requirement gathering techniques to consider:

One-on-one interview

Introduce yourself and summarize the project, including its scope and any timelines. Build rapport with the person you’re interviewing to gain their buy-in so they are more likely to give you good input. Let them know the overall topics you plan to discuss in your interview gathering session. Consider asking things like, “What is your most important business process,” or “What systems do you use, how do they work and are you satisfied with them?” Be prepared with predetermined questions. Here are some other tips to keep in mind for conducting productive interviews:

  • Ask open-ended questions: To get the most of your interview time, ask questions that require more than a yes or no answer. It helps get honest and insightful answers without guiding the interview subject. For example, “How do you calculate the monthly bonuses for sales when there is an economic downturn?

  • Pinpoint details or rephrase to gain overall insight: People answer questions differently and it is up to you to adjust. If they focus on minimal details that don’t affect your overall goal, guide them back to topics that do. Conversely, if someone gives too general of information, ask more prodding questions that force them to think about details.

  • Interview the right people: Make sure you interview the right stakeholders who can give you relevant and insightful information. For example, if you need to explore how a software system works, interviewing the manager who doesn’t use the program may not be the best choice, whereas the analyst team who uses it daily is.

  • Share the questions ahead of time: This is a respectful gesture and also helps the interviewee best prepare their answers, which benefits the team and project while saving time in the actual interview.

Closed-ended questions can be helpful to gain information in a short amount of time or to get details that open-ended questions are unnecessary for, like “How many online orders do customers place every day,” for example.

Group interview

Group interviews work best with interviewees of the same job position or level, as they are familiar with the topics at hand and what areas of opportunity exist. Having a time constraint also generates more urgent information sharing, like scheduling the session for only one hour versus two. Because people justify their viewpoints with supporting evidence in front of others, you can often gain deeper insights than on a one-on-one interview. Discussing each topic in a group setting also allows you to refine and clarify the requirement, which can lead to better outcomes and understanding useful to the project.

Scheduling group interviews is one challenge, since finding a time that works well for many people requires effort.


Brainstorming is a common technique used early in a project because it often acts as a starting point. With brainstorming, you gather as many ideas as possible from as many people as possible to identify, categorize and assign tasks, opportunities and potential solutions quickly. Brainstorming sessions work well in group settings and it is important to take notes on generated ideas.

Focus group

A focus group is a method of market research with a set group of participants to garner feedback. The focus group can offer input about the needs, problems or opportunities to identify and create project requirements or they can validate and refine ones already brought out. The focus group participants can be employees of the client or representative of the users for this work.


Offering a survey or questionnaire allows you to collect information from many people in a relatively short amount of time, particularly helpful for interacting with people in different geographic locations and also good for budget savings and time constraints. When preparing your survey, consider these tips:

  • Keep them shorter versus longer so people are more likely to complete them

  • Focus on a feature or topic, rather than many at once

  • Use ratings to generate data analysis responses, like “strongly agree,” “agree” or “disagree

  • Have some open-ended questions to allow free-form responses to get detailed input

  • Use the six question words to structure your survey: who, what, when, where, why and how, like “How does the user login,” or “Where are the results shown in the program?

Requirement workshop

Requirement workshops are a great way to gather information and as a facilitator, it is important to be prepared for the session to go well. Gather and prepare materials and an agenda to give structure to the workshop—this helps ensure you get quality insights. Know who is attending the workshop to get the most out of it and plan better knowing what each person’s expectations are. Consider meeting some attendees ahead of time to know how their personalities and work styles will integrate and to understand their views of where they see the project going.

This method often requires the most planning and preparation, and since you can’t always have the right people in the room together, it is wise to run a few workshops to get the most requirement information gathering possible. It also typically takes the longest, though the quality of the information is high.

User observation

User observation is a bit like job shadow research. You spend time with a person or group of people to see how they perform their tasks in a real-life job setting. It can help you address the requirements specifically with the people in mind who will benefit from them. Some things to keep in mind when conducting user observation:

  • Construct a visual of the end-to-end process a person follows to do their job daily

  • Be mindful when asking questions to not disrupt seeing a natural work environment

  • Observe, take notes, remain unbiased and keep from making judgments

  • Gather any documentation that helps you find out procedures, like a user training manual

  • Observe well enough to understand fully what a platform, software or device is capable of

User observation is also helpful to improve a task by validating previously recorded data. Be sure to thank those who let you spend time with them. It helps build rapport and is useful if you need to observe again or connect with them for follow-up questions.

Interface analysis

Interface analysis helps create usable, effective and popular software for a client, group or consumer. With interface analysis, you review the human and artificial intelligence aspect, discovering how a person uses the system and how the system internally works. You review the how the program or software interacts with other external systems to make sure and notice any concerns that are not widely visible to users.

Document analysis

Document analysis includes reviewing the existing system’s documentation, like user manuals and instructions. It is helpful particularly for any changeover risk mitigation and you can glean important information that pushes the boundary of establishing new requirements or validating existing ones. It is helpful to have multiple people review the documents and hold a meeting afterwards to compile your insights to make sure nothing gets missed.

Reverse engineering

Reverse engineering is helpful for situations lacking documentation of an existing system where you cannot perform document analysis. You can use reverse engineering to identify what a software system or platform does, though it cannot show you what a system should do or where its areas of opportunity are, so it is helpful to use this technique alongside other ones.


Prototyping is a newer technique used in requirement gathering. You create a prototype based on initial gathering results, like brainstorming or group interviews, to show a client an early version of a workable solution. The client can then give more requirements or refine existing ones to advance the project. This cycle of prototyping can last a few exchanges until the product meets the client’s needs.

Joint application design

Joint application design (JAD) often speeds up the construction of information systems by combining group dynamics and customer involvement to come up with a solution jointly. Often led by a facilitator, each JAD participant plays a particular role in the exercise and the session requires extensive planning. The benefits of a JAD meeting include:

  • Simplifying the process and saving time by consolidating phone calls, emails and other meetings

  • Identifying participants, users and issues quickly and collectively

  • Clarifying the requirements unanimously

  • Transitioning from one phase of development to the next seamlessly

  • Satisfying the customer because they helped develop the system and approved the stages of work

Copyright © 2017 Zox News Theme. Theme by MVP Themes, powered by WordPress.