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Using Personas To Discover Requirements

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How do you gather requirements? How do you really find out what people want? Stewart Baird explains how you can use a mix of personas and visual make tools to uncover and generate high-level user requirements.
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This article explains how to use persona maps and visual make tools when discovering high-level user goals and requirements.

It's All About Getting Started

A while ago, I was interviewing a prospective employee. We were in the middle of the interview and things seemed to be going well. Then I asked a fairly basic question: How do you gather requirements? Of course, he made all of the right sounds—documentation, requirements, functional specifications, models, and so on. He was rambling on, but my mind was a thousand miles away. How do you really find out what people want? How do you start?

Extreme Programming uses the "Exploration" phase to capture high-level requirements; they are in the form of user stories. How does this work in practice? No single person can be expected to speak for the entire organization; there can be many voices, each singing a different tune or lyric. If you're handed down requirements on stone tablets, you can skip this article. For the rest of us, I'll explain how you can use personas and visual make tools to drive-out requirements.

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