In this episode, author and consultant Alyce Reopelle challenges some of the practices and assumptions about requirements elicitation.


After listening to this episode, you'll understand:

  • Why a subject matter expert may not be the best person to elicit requirements
  • The impact of assumptions and how to avoid them
  • How to overcome the curse of knowledge


A tactic that organizations often use is to assign a subject matter expert (SME) to elicit requirements for a project.  This approach makes sense as a SME will understand the systems and processes impacted by the project and will likely discover and refine the requirements faster.

But what is this conventional wisdom is wrong?  What if the best person to elicit requirements is someone who knows nothing about the current state or the processes and products?

The reality is that experts often make assumptions and fail to ask crucial questions.  They enter a situation with an expert’s mind; a scenario in which there are few options for a solution.  Instead, we need to have a beginner’s mind.  With a beginner’s mind, the options are unbound by preconceived notions.  We are free to ask insightful questions and imagine new possibilities.


Listen to the full episode to find out how to approach situations with a beginner’s mind and fight some of the assumptions that lead to gaps in requirements.




Watch our for and avoid words that describe requirements but can’t be tested.  When you hear words such as fast, user friendly, or big, challenge stakeholders to quantify what they mean and get a clear understanding of the need.


 Links mentioned in this episode:

Alyce Reopelle

Alyce Reopelle

Author and Consultant

Alyce is a PMP certified consultant and contributing author for Project Management for Today. She has over 20 years of project management experience with a passion for helping organizations grow their PMO, their project managers, and their teams.


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