6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 5.2 Collect Requirements: Tools & Techniques (2)

In the last post, part 1 on the Tools and Techniques used in process 5.2 Collect Requirements, I showed a list of the various categories of requirements that need to be collected and indicated where each of those categories come from.

In this post, I will now start going into the tools & techniques used to analyze, prioritize, and finally to decide upon what the requirements are for the project.

The first list of tools & techniques are what I would call “generic” tools & techniques for any major decision-making process on a project, whether it be deciding upon requirements (as in this process), deciding upon any changes to be made in the project (part of process 4.6 Integrated Change Control), or frankly any of the preliminary planning processes that deal with the major constraints of the project (process 6.1 Plan Schedule Management, process 7.1 Plan Cost Management, etc.).

5.2.2 Collect Requirements:  Tools & Techniques  Expert Judgement

A list of the various types of experts you may want to consult regarding the requirements is found in the PMBOK® Guide, but the experts you need will be based on what category of requirements you are talking about (see previous post for those categories):   technical experts will be needed for solution requirements, the project sponsor and/or upper management for business requirements, etc. Data Gathering

  • Brainstorming–this is a meeting held with team members and selected experts to generate and collect multiple ideas related to the project and product requirements.
  • Interviews–these are interviews held stakeholders such as subject matter experts (for the solution requirements), sponsors or other executives (for the high-level and/or business requirements), and PMs with experience on other relevant projects (for project requirements).
  • Focus groups–these are group meetings with stakeholders to discuss their expectations and attitudes about a proposed product, service, or result.
  • Questionnaires and surveys–these are written sets of questions sent out to various respondents, whether they are subject matter experts, stakeholders, or experienced PMs.   Questionnaires and surveys are easier to manage and facilitate than focus groups, and are used when quick turnaround is needed, and/or the respondents are geographically dispersed, making in-person interviews or focus groups less practical.
  • Benchmarking–like a focus group, but with the discussion centering around a comparison between the proposed product and those of competitive organizations.  Data Analysis

Besides gathering data on potential requirements, you need a way to analyze those requirements once they are proposed.   There is a complete list of documents that can be used to make such an analysis regarding requirements in the PMBOK® Guide, but these would include the following:

Business plans (for business requirements)

Agreements, Problem/issue logs, Requests for proposal, Use cases (for solution requirements)

Business process or interface documentation, Business rules repositories, Current process flows, Policies and procedures (for project requirements)

Marketing literature, Use Cases (for Transition and readiness requirements)

Regulatory documentation (for quality requirements)  Decision Making

This applies to any decision-making process in a project, not just those decisions having to do with requirements.

  • Multicriteria decision analysis– this provides a systematic approach to evaluate and rank many ideas.

Once the analysis is complete, then it is time to make a decision.   This can be done either through autocratic decision making, where one individual takes responsibility for making the decision for the group, or some sort of system of voting as a group, which may include the following decision-making techniques:

  • Unanimity–everyone must agree on a single course of action in order for it to go forward.
  • Majority–more than 50% of the members have to support a single course of action in order for it to go forward.
  • Plurality–the largest block of votes in a group decides on a single course of action in order for it to go forward.

The next post will cover those techniques which can help make a decision regarding requirements, including data representation techniques (affinity diagrams, mind mapping), interpersonal and team skills (nominal group techniques, observation/conversation, facilitation), context diagrams, and prototypes.






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