Elicit and Analyze Requirements

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Eliciting the requirements requires getting questions answered. An interview questionnaire is an effective way to accomplish this task. Once the raw information from the customer is available, accurate and precise requirements must then be distilled out of that raw information. This will require using a system model to abstract the behavior of the desired system so that customer consensus can be obtained. All of this work will culminate in the creation of a vision document.

Interviewing the customers is a critical activity. If the correct questions are not asked, then the correct answers are unreachable. Getting agreement from the interviewee that the interviewer recorded their response correctly is essential. Interpreting responses, rewording responses, or spinning responses are all steps along the pathway of doom for a software project. Seeking clarification from the interviewee is correct and expected. Attempting to modify interviewee responses without their involvment is very risky.

Ensure that the system model is abstract and easy to understand so that representatives of the cutomer organization (who are domain experts in their business domain and not necessariy software engineeering) can correctly understand what the model is describing.

The culmination of elicitation and analysis activities is the creation of the project Vision Document. The Vision Document captures the results of all of these activities and therefore it is a very important artifact. There should be consensus between the developing organization and the customer organization regarding the contents of the Vision Document before proceeding to the next stages of the software development process.

Elicit and Analyze Requirements Activities PNG
The interview questions must be carefully constructed to ensure that correct and complete information is obtained regarding the expectations of the system to be developed. The system model is an abstraction of the system the customer has told you they want. It is important that there is consensus between the project team and the customer regarding the correctness of the system model since requirements will be derived from the system model. The vision document is the final artifact that is produced as part of requirements elicitation and analysis. The vision document represents the common understanding between the customer and the project team of the system that is to be developed.

No part of this work should be produced or used without the permission of the authors: Michael Turner and Dr. Sharon A White.