Requirements techniques form a toolbox of a business analyst. A right technique helps to get to the bottom of an issue at hand, to understand a problem situation, to understand viewpoints of stakeholders, to elicit requirements. Selecting a right technique is a matter of understanding the situation, its nuances (e.g. organizational culture, internal politics), a type of project, and your knowledge about techniques and confidence you have to use them. Too often we choose a technique we know well, or which is an existing company practice, instead of a technique that gives the best results. This situation can be summarised by Abraham Maslow’s quote :
"When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail".
So next time don’t be tempted to use a requirements technique you are very confident about. It may not be the most suitable for the task at hand. Check first whether this technique is suitable in context of your project, organization and people you have to work with. What are the alternatives? Charles Darvin once said:
'It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.'
In any eco-system an organism with the broadest range of behaviour will thrive. The same rule applies to business analysts: in any organization a business analyst with the broadest range of behaviours/techniques will thrive and get the best results. There are a lot of very useful requirements techniques that are not widely used/known. At the same time the few approaches can currently assist you in the selection of “the best” techniques for the situation at hand. I hope this blog will help you to fill in this knowledge gap and will give you practical tips on available techniques and how to use them.
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