In this episode, Lora McCoy shows us how to run an effective and engaging requirements workshop; a great way to elicit a majority of the requirements for your project all at once.
After listening to this episode, you'll understand:
- How to keep workshop attendees engaged and focused on the business needs
- The 5 parts of a requirements workshop
- What you need to do before, during, and after your workshop to make it successful
Requirements elicitation workshops are a great way to discover requirements. They’re a key tool you can use to quickly elicit a majority of the requirements on your project. Unfortunately, many workshops don’t get the anticipated value.
A well run requirements workshop is engaging, valuable, and maybe even fun. To run such a workshop, you’ll need to do a few key things before, during, and after the workshop.
Effective requirements workshops are made up of five phases:
- Follow up
The planning phase is where most of the work takes place and is critical for a successful workshop. During planning, you’ll manage not only the meeting logistics such as date and location, you’ll also need to make sure the right people are invited.
Start by defining the purpose of the meeting. Understanding the scope and having a clear purpose will allow you to perform a stakeholder analysis to determine who should attend the workshop.
You should also determine the vision and agenda. Given the purpose you identify, what is your vision for the workshop? The vision will lead to agenda items to drive the workshop toward the goal.
You’ll want to include the purpose, vision, and expectations in the meeting invitation so people can prepare to work towards that vision.
At the start of the requirements workshop, clearly articulate the purpose, vision, and agenda. Of course, you’ll also want to have people introduce themselves, which can be done in a boring or fun way.
The opening sets the tone for the workshop and helps start the requirements workshop off right.
During the execution phase, you will facilitate the workshop and keep attendees focused on the purpose and vision. You may want to have both a facilitator and scribe as doing both can be difficult.
Having stakeholders in the room while eliciting and documenting requirements in real time allows for rapid feedback loops so you can make adjustments and ensure correct requirements.
While executing the workshop, include a lot of activities to keep people moving around and engaged.
Making use of visuals also helps with gaining clarity among all stakeholders. Think about what type of visuals might be appropriate for the situation. In most cases, you don’t need to create visuals beforehand. It’s powerful to create visuals with others in the workshop.
Visuals may include mind maps, process flows, or other diagrams that create a shared understanding and allow you to discover requirements along the way. You may be able to get attendees to come to the whiteboard and create these visuals with you. Before long, you may have a room full of highly engaged stakeholders at the board all solving the problem together.
The closing phase is at the end of the workshop and allows you to discuss what was accomplished, what remains to be done, and what the next steps are.
You’ll want to thank everyone for attending and clearly share what will happen next.
The follow up portion of the workshop may occur a day or two afterwards and includes tasks such as distributing action items, notes, or pictures or scheduling additional meetings.
Listen to the full episode to hear how to get the most out of requirements elicitation workshops – even in Agile environments.
Go to the Board
In your next workshop or meeting, get up out of your seat and use the whiteboard or flip charts. Not only does this create a shared understanding, it also keeps attendees engaged. They can even pick up a marker and co-create the solution.
Links mentioned in this episode:
- Connect with Lora via email
Founder and Principal Consultant at LMc3 Consulting
Lora McCoy is a Certified Business Analysis Professional with over 18 years of experience performing Business Analysis skill set activities as well as Quality Assurance, Project Management, and more. She is dedicated to both the profession and those who perform the skill set for the profession. She currently serves as the President for the Oklahoma City Chapter of the IIBA where she applies that passion to the local membership in the form of mentorship and knowledge sharing. You can contact Lora at LMc3Consulting@gmail.com
Thank you for listening to the program
To get more valuable content to enhance your skills and advance your career, you can subscribe on iTunes.