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Describe methods of obtaining requirements from stakeholders.


Teaching Note:

Including surveys, interviews, direct observations.

AIM 5 The need for effective collaboration to obtain appropriate information from stakeholders.

S/E The question of privacy for stakeholders.

Sample Question:


JSR Notes:

First of all note the difference between this, 1.2.5, and the next assessment statement 1.2.6. Here, the focus is still on the stakeholder and their requirements, and in 1.2.6, it's more what will need to be done to meet those requirements. So this is focused on communication with the stakeholders, and 1.2.6 is focused on communication and interaction with the IT world.

To find out the requirements needed by a particular group, which are to be met by the IT system, you can take several approaches, including surveys, interviews, focus groups and direct observation.


Surveys offer a great way to quickly and easily gather information that will be necessary to plan and implement a new IT system. They are not the only way, but make for at the very least a good start. Surveys now-a-days are very easy to conduct, with websites such as SurveyMonkey etc. Still, care needs to be taken in their development and use.






An interview is a face to face meeting, that consists of an interviewer asking the interviewee questions that should be pertinent to the topic of the interview. To be most useful, interviews are usually one-on-one meetings. Follow up interviews are very helpful too.




Observation ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Observation is the process of monitoring a system while it is at work. Back in my ISP Prague days, people came from all over the world, regularly, to observer our laptop program and IT organization. Reading and watching videos about a system is one thing, but there's nothing like seeing it in action.



Focus Groups / "Town-hall Meeting"

A focus group is a form of research in which a group of people, generally stakeholders, are gathered together and questioned on their opinions towards a project or product. Questions are generally asked in an interactive group setting where the participants are free to talk with other members in the group.




The Importance of Confidentiality and Accuracy

Whichever form the information gather takes, ever effort need to be taken to ensure privacy and confidentiality. This is true not only for ethical reasons, but also because only this way can the most sincere and accurate information be collected.

And if you don't get sincere, accurate information before designing and implementing the system, big mistakes can be made which will come back to haunt both the IT teams implementing the project and the business or organization for whom the project is intended.

Certain "truths may hurt", but they will hurt a whole lot more if they are not even realized until after the system is built and operational, based on false assumptions.



IA Solution Connection and Considerations

It is so, so important for you to accurately collect information in your IA solution. You have to understand the situation as well as you can, and more often than not, it is a situation you will be for the most part not know the inner workings of. If multiple people will be affected, surveys may be useful, and depending on the situation, direct observation can also be invaluable. But for sure, multiple interviews with your primary client will be of paramount importance. Alway remember that it is for your client that you are creating this program, not yourself. And only they truly know what will work for them and what will not.

More than just three times, you will likely, and you should, meet with your client. But at a minimum, there are three times at which it will be most important to interact with them:

Initial Interview - This should happen very early on as an initial fact-finding conversation to pin-point what it is that they need help with that your program can support. A big first part of this will be getting to know that context of the problem as well as you can. And then you can have an exchange on the types of things you think you can help them out with.

Prototype Interview - This is where you will show them a "mock-up" series of screen shots showing various GUI windows/tabs that portray what a Java program made in Netbeans might look like. With it, the two of you will take a pencil and cross off things, add things, and leave comments that will help you re-work it as a next step.

Evaluation Interview - Upon completion of your program, you will present it to them, have them take a look at it, and use it. Then, looking back at your "Criteria For Success" list, you will both judge and talk about how the final product did in comparison. A summary of this conversation you will communicate in your written evaluation of the program, the last step of your IA project.