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What question to ask during Requirement Elicitation?

A Business Analyst not just ask questions blindly and pass those gathered requirements to the developers. The BA needs to ask the thoughtful questions that will make the stakeholders to think and give appropriate answers.

Requirement elicitation discussions generally thinks that system behaves normally (positive flow only). Also users think in the same way and ignore exception flows. One needs to know that developers write code that handles exception behavior of system (exception flow). Then BA should ask questions on what can make the system go wrong to find the possible alternate and exception flows. This will help the development team.

As a BA we need to probe around the requirements and ask questions like what should happen if any error happens due to wrong entry? Probing requirements by discussing with various stakeholders having different background gives all round perspective about the requirements.

Asking Why question is an excellent question for the BA. But it should shouldn’t asked in a confrontational or accusatory way. It can be asked like “could you please help me in understanding this”, it means that why is that happening, why is this requirement needed. Ask as many Why questions as possible until we get the confidence that we got the real requirement.

It is very important to ask the right question to get the specific answer. One should have clear understanding of user’s business and industry it belongs to, contexts of requirement, objective and possible constraints. In order to ask the right questions, we use 5W1H technique.

Asking How type of questions

  • How that functionality will be used?
  • If it is a process function, what are the required steps to do that functionality?
  • In what way this feature can be built differently

Asking Where type of questions

  • Where would the user be present when the feature is used?
  • Where would you see the result of feature?

Asking When type of questions

  • When will they use this feature?
  • When do you want this feature?

Asking Who type of questions

  • Who are going to use this feature?
  • Who will give inputs for feature?

Asking What type of questions

  • What are the assumptions for the feature?
  • What are the constraints for the feature?
  • What is the output of feature?
  • What is the next step after performing this feature?
  • What are the inputs required to use this feature?

Asking Why type of questions

  • Why this feature is required?
  • In what way this feature helps in meeting business requirements?

Common questions to ask during requirement elicitation

What do I know about the company?

What do I know the industry, the company belongs to?

What kind of requirements do they have depending on type of industry they belong to?

Who are they target customer and should I segment market?

What are the features they want in their system?

What are the expected outcome from the project?

Any changes in Graphical User Interface (GUI)

Any change is required in system integration?

Any change is required in business login?

How this requirement help the business and in what way?

Who are the main stakeholders involved in this business?


About Y. V . Vamshi krishna

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