In the prior chapter, we introduced interviewing as a primary requirements gathering technique. In this and following chapters, we'll introduce additional techniques that can be used to elicit and organize requirements. In general, the more elicitation and requirements gathering techniques the team has in their toolkit, the more effective the team will be. However, occasionally the team does not have the luxury of time to either master or apply a variety of techniques. They have to pick one technique and go.
If we were to be given only one requirements elicitation technique ”one that we had to apply in every circumstance, no matter the project context, no matter what the time frame ”we would pick the requirements workshop, which we will describe in this chapter. The requirements workshop may well be the most powerful technique in this book and one of the few that, when mastered, can really help change project outcomes , even when it's the only elicitation technique applied.
The requirements workshop is designed to encourage consensus on the requirements of the application and to gain rapid agreement on a course of action, all in a very short time. With this technique, key stakeholders of the project gather together for a short, intensive period, typically no more than one or two days. The workshop is facilitated by a team member or, better yet, by an experienced outside facilitator and focuses on the creation or review of the high-level features to be delivered by the new application.
A properly run requirements workshop has many benefits.
Many organizations have had great success with the workshop technique. Together, we have participated in hundreds of such workshops, and rarely, if ever, has the workshop been unsuccessful in meeting its desired goals. The workshop provides a unique opportunity for stakeholders from various parts of the organization to work together toward the common goal of project success.
In this chapter, you will learn how to plan and run a successful requirements workshop.