Coevolving Innovations

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‘Gathering’ is so passive

Posted on February 05, 2006 by martingladwell

I have previously stated a view that Requirements gathering does more harm than good

‘Gathering’ generally has the connotation of collecting something that already exists. As if ‘Requirements’ were sitting out there fully formed waiting to be collected. What value does a Business Analyst add who asks a client for their requirements and writes down whatever they are told? I wish this was uncommon practice but I fear it is not. If I were to ask my clients what their requirements are I am mightily impressed when they say ‘we don’t know’. By demonstrating the ambiguity and inconsistency in the answers who claim that they do know, it is relatively simple to discover that they do not. I don’t believe they should know, and I believe that we are doing them a disservice to let them think it is expected of them to be able to articulate an unabiguous and consistent set. But all this begs the question ‘What is a ‘Requirement’ if such a thing exists at all?’. That’s for next time. For now, I will sign off by saying that in my view whatever we do needs to be active and not passive. We need to help clients to identify and remove ambiguity and inconsistency. Without giving the game away we also need to help them seperate ends and means, to distinguish their goals from the features of the solutions which satisfy them.

1 to “‘Gathering’ is so passive”

  1. dougmcdavid says:

    I knew this was going to be one of your points! I think it is important to keep mentioning that our perspective (yours, mine and David’s) is from the point of view of supporting the enterprise with technology and services. This is a different point of view than a product designer, who would tend to look at requirements differently. We may have folks visit here who have that product point of view.



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