What Is Elicitation and Top Requirement Elicitation Techniques?

To elicit means to direct a response. The word "elicitation" comes from "elicit." Elicitation, in simple terms, means gathering information or provoking a response in certain situations. Now, why would one be interested in recording reactions or information? Elicitation refers to nonverbal gestures and verbal communication that aid in a better understanding of a situation. They provide a lot of information in the form of layers that helps in making better-informed decisions. For example, a comedian will crack jokes to make the audience laugh. If there is no laughter from the crowd, for him, that is a negative response. He will try harder to be entertaining now. The reaction of the crowd is now guiding his performance.

Elicitation and its Uses in Different Scenarios

  • In criminal investigations for understanding the truth.

  • During the PowerPoint presentations, when understanding the mood of the meeting hall is important.

  • In a meeting to understand, if the customer likes the product demonstrated, what exactly are the features that the customer is not finding useful or relevant? Will the customer pay the quoted price for the demonstrated product?

  • Professors in the classroom use this technique to understand if their teaching is effective or not, and others.

Requirements Elicitation in Business Management

In the business world, we generally do requirement elicitation which assists businesses in understanding what their clients stated, and unspoken expectations are, as well as how those expectations should be met. On the other hand, it involves connecting with different stakeholders involved in the creation stage of the product. For requirement elicitation to be successful, one must ensure the following −

  • Business Requirement Elicitation Preparation − It is used to list the number and type of questions that should be asked. What will be the mode of discussion? What type of discussion would it be-a pre-planned discussion or an impromptu visit? How will all the information and reactions submitted by the clients be captured?

  • Conduct the Business Requirement Elicitation Process − The purpose here is to gather all relevant information possible in a systematic manner.

  • Prepare Business Requirement Elicitation analysis − After the information has been gathered, it is very important to understand the information and prepare an analysis for the same.

Business requirement elicitations are generally done by business analysts. This is the most complex and crucial stage. This requirement elicitation is going to pave the road for the developers, designers, subject matter experts, and other employees involved in product creation. Business Requirement Elicitation refers to the

  • Budget estimate for the project

  • Timeline for the project's completion

  • client or customer expectations from the end product

  • scope of the project and others

In this article, we will be discussing the different requirement elicitation techniques practiced and the pros and cons of those techniques in business management.

Brainstorming − It is an open platform where the stakeholders from the different functional teams can sit and discuss. The business analyst is going to act as the moderator and document all the crucial points discussed in the session. This brainstorming session might result in creative solutions and a cooperative approach to completing the assigned task on time and at a lower cost.

Elicitation Document Analysis − In this process, a business analyst reviews all the documents at hand for better understanding and to find ways to improve them. The documents might be −

  • Minutes of the meeting, interviews, and brainstorming sessions

  • Customer feedback and surveys from earlier similar projects

  • Earlier project plans

  • Pre-existing project documents are available on the internet

  • Market research, surveys, and others

Conducting in-depth interviews − For a focused and in-depth understanding of the working technique, the resources that would be dedicated, and the timeline for completing the task assigned, a business analyst should conduct interviews with the heads of the developers, designers, subject matter experts, and other concerned teams. All the information gathered from these in-depth interviews should be properly documented, and then the relevant analysis should be done. The key to success here is connecting the dots from various in-depth stakeholder interviews.

Focus Groups − In the focus groups, the relevant functional stakeholders provide their feedback based on the documents submitted earlier, the brainstorming sessions, the up-to-date analysis submitted by the business analysts, and the in-depth interviews.

The Observation Technique − is also known as "job shadowing." The observation technique helps the business analyst become part of the practical world and understand the minute details of the particular work environment and process flow. Now the analysis done by the business analyst is closer to the model product.

Prototyping − The prototyping process helps the stakeholders involved visualize a realistic model of the product even before its development. It is a very crucial stage as now relevant feedback can be given by the employees as well as the stakeholders involved. The product is modified even before it is generated.

Workshops − focused and inclusive workshops include all the concerned stakeholders involved in product creation. These workshops ensure that everyone is on the same page. It provides the stakeholders with a platform to collaborate, resolve conflicts, discuss, and gain insights related to the product.

Conducting surveys − When multiple stakeholders are involved in product creation or project implementation, remaining on the same page is difficult. Conducting brainstorming sessions or workshops is a costlier method. Hence, surveys. A survey can be filled out at the stakeholder’s convenience. A business analyst can generate both qualitative and quantitative data from the survey and analyze the same.

Generally, the Business Requirement Elicitation Technique follows the above-mentioned process. This helps in ensuring that relevant information is captured and discussed in the next stage. However, a business analyst can move in between or conduct a process twice for better understanding. This totally depends on the size and criticality of the project and the discretion of the stakeholders involved.

Requirement Elicitation is very critical for understanding the requirement and delivering a product that satisfies the customer or client. Jumping from one phase to another or taking shortcuts is not recommended because a business analyst is drawing the blueprint of the product for both the client and the employees. A shortcut will be harmful and costly in the long run, for sure. Without good requirement analysis, no company can deliver an excellent product.