The world of Requirements is a big part of a Business Analyst’s role. However, there is a perennial nerdy debate about, ‘how to ____ the requirements’, and what verb to use. Here are just a few of the candidates which I have heard over the years; most have strong advocates. I know, nerdy, but this is my job!
Gather/trawl/find/capture – From the school of thought that they [the Requirements], are somehow lying waiting or swimming about, to be found and tamed. That’s not really the way it works in my experience.
Elicit – Probably the most used ‘grown-up’ word for the process of requirements elicitation, although I think it sounds a bit intrusive and clinical! Who, as the subject of the requirements process, wants to think that their needs and wishes are somehow, ‘drawn-out’ or ‘invoked’?
Discover – Elsewhere in technology projects there is sometimes a ‘discovery phase’, in which aspects of the project scope, maybe the high level requirements, assumptions and dependencies etc. are understood. As with ‘gathering’, there is an implication that like an undiscovered land the requirements are waiting to be found and named.
Investigate – And, so we come to my current favourite. Magnifying glass in hand, gently chewing on a Meerschaum pipe, the intrepid BA seeks out those illusive clues, interviews suspects (I mean stakeholders), and pieces together a cohesive and insightful picture of what is needed. It’s Elementary!
To continue the literary references, in Edgar Allen Poe’s famous noir detective story, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, the unnamed narrator has a lot to say about the analysis process:
As the strong man exults in his physical ability…so glories the analyst in that moral activity that disentangles.
He is fond of enigmas, of conundrums, of hieroglyphics, exhibiting in his solutions of each a degree of acumen…[His] results brought about by the very soul and essence of method…
I could go on, but I think that proves beyond doubt I believe that we analysts are detectives!
Finally, it’s no coincidence that I have created IT elements, and the IT elementary school There is a whole world and a journey of discovery out there, and even if I can’t provide all the answers, at least I can give you a few clues!
Thank you for any comments and feedback.
(c) 2015 Antony Lawrence CBA