How to Facilitate Requirements Gathering Workshops

For high-priority and time-critical changes, Requirements Gathering Workshops help you analyze the business situation, identify business problems, and define potential solutions in a hurry. Facilitated requirements workshops are highly effective with any Software Development Methodology (SDM). For Agile projects, they define Business Goals and Objectives, Themes, Business Epics, and User Stories to seed an initial Product Backlog. For traditional approaches, they capture comprehensive Business, Stakeholder, and Solution Requirements to create a Requirements Definition Document that the business community and the solution providers both understand.                     

This scenario-based seminar presents tools, techniques and insights based on the collective experiences of many successful Requirements Gathering Workshop facilitation teams. It teaches how to shorten the time needed to create and achieve consensus within a cross-functional group on a complete set of non-redundant, prioritized, and valid requirements that define all aspects of a proposed business solution.

The target audience for this course is anyone wearing the business analysis hat, including business analysts, subject matter experts, agile product owners, project leaders and managers, line managers, systems analysts, software testers, and solution architects.

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Key Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Distinguish between types of requirements, user stories, and use cases
  • Adapt a check-list of pre-meeting activities
  • Prepare the participants for the workshop using effective email communication methods
  • Organize and schedule requirements discovery or user story workshops
  • Use standard requirements gathering questionnaires to structure the meeting
  • Organize and analyze the visible results of the workshop
  • Create and sustain a productive workshop environment
  • Develop contingency plans for dealing with unpleasant situations
  • Evaluate a session to improve the process
  • Apply 5 methods for maintaining the project momentum after the session
  • Plan to incorporate selected techniques to improve your performance on the job

Course Outline

1. Introduction to Meeting Facilitation
    The Challenge of Requirements Meetings
  • Dealing with Reality
  • Why Do Projects Take So Long?
  • Common System Development Approaches
  • What is a Requirements Gathering Workshop?
  • Phases of a RGW
  • Mini-RGW
  • Roles in RGW
  • The Pros of RGW and The Flip Side of RGW
  • Before the RGW and After the RGW
  • Risks of Acceleration
2. Methodologies and Requirements Workshops
    Methodologies and Requirements Gathering
  • Of Parallel Universes
  • Chaotic Analysis and Structured Analysis
  • Object-Oriented Development
  • Agile Development
  • Exercise: Roadmap to Success
  • Activity Scheduling Form
  • A Minimal Methodology
  • Project Activities
  • Define Business Need
  • Exercise: Structure Applied
  • RGW Scheduling Form
  • RGW Applications and Focus
3. Preparing for a Requirements Workshop
    Documents of Meeting Preparation
  • Evolution of an Effective Meeting
  • Exercise: A 15-Minute Meeting Planner
  • Documents of Meeting Preparation
  • Exercise: Participant Selection
  • Meeting Invitation Contents
  • Exercise: Creating Effective Invitations
  • Sample Invitation Contents
  • Time Versus Depth

    Preparing an Effective Agenda

  • Preparing an Effective Agenda
  • Activity Dependencies
  • Setting and Managing Expectations
  • Sample Agenda Format
  • Exercise: Sequencing Meeting Activities
4. Managing the Working Session
    Identifying Icebreakers
  • Your Assignment, Mr. Phelps
  • Breaking the Ice
  • Sample Icebreakers
  • Exercise: Identifying Icebreakers

    Assigning Group Work

  • The Momentum Challenge
  • Exercise: Maintaining Momentum
  • Assigning Group Work
  • Debriefing Group Assignments
5. Managing the Deliverables
    Managing RGW Deliverables
  • Preparing Meeting Documentation
  • Exercise: Leveraging the Documentation Advantage
  • Restructuring Deliverables to Increase Productivity
  • Example of Activity-Based Formatting
  • Maintaining Group Memory
  • Increasing Participant Productivity

    Maintaining Participant Productivity

  • Exercise: Managing the Facilities
  • Meeting Equipment
  • The Last Commandment
6. Developing the Facilitation Team
    Profile of a Facilitation Team
  • Exercise: Skills Comparison
  • Basic Behavioral Concepts
  • Motivational Needs
  • Motivations Classified
  • Motivated to Lead?
  • Motivated to Analyze?
  • Thinking Styles
  • Thinking on Your Feet?
  • Thinking Under Pressure?
  • Behavioral Styles
  • Leadership Behavior?
  • Well Behaved Analyst?
  • Balancing Behavioral Styles
  • Leadership Styles
  • Facilitator Style?
  • Analyst Style?
  • Exercise: Identifying Strengths and Challenges
7. Dealing with Difficulty
    Meeting Murphy and Fighting Back
  • Dealing with Murphy
  • Discussion: Equipment Dependencies
  • What’s Wrong with This Picture?
  • Everything Takes Longer Than You Think
  • Exercise: Everything Takes Longer Than You Think
  • Discussion: Facilities Problems
  • Problem People or People Problems
  • Exercise: Dealing with People Issues
  • Discussion: Creepy Scope
  • Exercise: Back to Square One
8. Closing the Working Session
    Closing the RGW in Style
  • Critical Success Factors
  • Assigning Open Issues
  • Post-Meeting Task List
  • Staying In Touch
  • Exercise: 3-Minute Meeting Evaluation
9. From Showtime to Go Time!
    Personal Improvement Plan
  • Understanding the Learning Curve
  • Exercise: My Techniques
  • My Personal Implementation Plan