In our search for undiscovered requirements, it may also be appropriate to move the questions to a point wherein we explore solutions after the context-free questions have been asked and answered . After all, most of us are not typically rewarded for simply understanding the problem but rather for providing solutions appropriate to the problems being solved . This addition of solution context may give the user new insights and perhaps even a different view of the problem. And, of course, our users depend on us to have context; otherwise , they would have to teach us everything they know about the subject.
As an aid to building this skill within the development team, we have combined these techniques into our "generic, almost context-free interview," a structured interview that can be used to elicit user or stakeholder requirements in most software application contexts. Figure 10-1 provides the template for this interview. The interview consists of both context-free and non-context-free sections. It also provides questions designed to make certain that all aspects of requirements, including some of those "gotcha" requirements for reliability, supportability, and so on, are thoroughly explored.
Figure 10-1. The generic, almost context-free interview