6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 5.2 Collect Requirements: Tools & Techniques (3)

There are so many tools and techniques associated with this very important process that I have split the discussion into three posts.   The first post discussed the categories of requirements, the second one discussed the first four tools and techniques, namely,

  • Expert judgment
  • Data gathering
  • Data analysis
  • Decision making

which are tools and techniques that are used with any major decision-making process on a project, and not just this process related to requirements.

The next set of tools and techniques, the ones I am discussing in this post, include those that are specific to this process regarding requirements.

5.2.2  Collect Requirements:  Tools & Techniques (continued)  Data Representation

These techniques take ideas that are generated in brainstorming (one of the Data Gathering tools & techniques described in section in the last post), and integrate them together.

  • Mind mapping–this technique takes ideas that are generated in the brainstorming process and then tries to tie them together into a single map by reflecting those ideas which have things in common and can be categorized together
  • Affinity diagrams–these allow large numbers of ideas to be classified into groups for review and analysis.   For details, please see my post that is specifically regarding this technique:

https://4squareviews.com/2012/12/06/six-sigma-green-belt-management-tool-1-affinity-diagrams/  Interpersonal and Team Skills

These are tools and techniques which require interpersonal and team-related skills in order to carry them out, and usually have some sort of moderator or facilitator.

  • Nominal group technique–This takes the ideas that were generated in the brainstorming process and then ranks them based on a voting process.   There are four steps to the process:
  1. A question or problem is posted to the group.    Each person generates ideas related to that question or problem and writes them down.
  2. The moderator collects the ideas generated in step 1 and writes them on a flip chart or whiteboard.
  3. Each idea recorded on the flip chart or whiteboard that is created in step 2 is then discussed with the entire group.
  4. Individuals vote to prioritize the ideas usually using a scale of 1-5.   The votes are tallied and the highest scoring ideas are selected.

For a more detailed discussion, please see my post that is specifically regarding this technique:


  • Observation/conversation–one way to generate ideas on a proposed new product or service is to observe individuals using the current product or service and see how they perform their jobs and carry out processes.   You can also ask people about how they do their jobs, but many people do their jobs so automatically that it may be easier to observe what they actually do rather than having people describe what they do.
  • Facilitation–these are focused sessions that bring key stakeholders together to define product requirements.    The following are examples of these focused sessions:
    • User stories–used in agile project methodologies, where the required functionality of a product is described in short descriptions called “user stories”
    • Joint application design/development–used in the software development industry
    • Quality function deployment–used in the manufacturing industry–for more details, please see my post that is specifically regarding this technique

https://4squareviews.com/2012/11/19/design-for-six-sigma-quality-function-deployment-and-the-house-of-quality/  Context Diagram

A context diagram shows the business system that the new product, service or result will be operating in.   This diagram shows how people, processes, equipment, etc., work together.   There is a good example on p. 146 of the PMBOK Guide.  Prototypes

Especially in dealing with a new product or service, a prototype provides a model of the expected product which can be used to obtain early feedback on the requirements needed in the actually product or service when it is built.   This can be an actually 2D or 3D physically model of the product, or a storyboard which can be used for describing a less tangible product such as a computer program or a film, for example.

Once the requirements have been collected, analyzed, prioritized and decided upon, they are put forth in documentation which is described in the next post, the outputs of the Collect Requirements process.



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