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“I spend much time helping organizations capture requirements and even more time helping them recover from not capturing requirements. Many of them have gone through some motions regarding requirements as if they were sleepworking. It’s time to wake up and do it right–and this book is going to be their alarm clock.”–Jerry Weinberg, author of numerous books on productivity enhancement
“In today’s complex, fast-paced software development environment, collaboration–the intense peer-to-peer conversations that result in products, decisions, and knowledge sharing–is absolutely essential to success. But all too often, attempts to collaborate degenerate into agonizing meetings or ineffectual bull sessions. Ellen's wonderful book will help you bridge the gap–turning the agony of meetings into the ecstasy of effective collaboration.”–Jim Highsmith, a pioneer in adaptive software development methods
“Requirements by Collaboration presents a wealth of practical tools and techniques for facilitating requirements development workshops. It is suitable–no, essential reading–for requirements workshop facilitators. It will help both technical people and customer representatives participate in these critical contributions to software success.”–Karl Wiegers, Principal Consultant, Process Impact, author of Software Requirements
“The need for this particular book, at this particular time, is crystal clear. We have entered a new age where software development must be viewed as a form of business problem solving. That means direct user participation in developing ‘requirements,’ or more accurately, in jointly working the business problem. That, in turn, means facilitated sessions. In this book, Ellen Gottesdiener provides a wealth of practical ideas for ensuring that you have exactly the right stuff for this all-important area of professional art.”
“Gottesdiener’s years of software development experience coupled with her straight-forward writing style make her book a perfect choice for either a senior developer or a midlevel project manager. In addition to her technical experience, her knowledge of group dynamics balance the book by educating the reader on how to manage conflict and personality differences within a requirements team–something that is missing from most requirements textbooks...It is a required ‘handbook’ that will be referred to again and again.”–Kay Christian, ebusiness Consultant, Conifer, Colorado
“Requirements by Collaboration is a ‘must read’ for any system stakeholder. End users and system analysts will learn the significant value they can add to the systems development process. Management will learn the tremendous return they may receive from making a modest time/people investment in facilitated sessions. Facilitators will discover ways to glean an amazing amount of high-quality information in a relatively brief time.”–Russ Schwartz, Computer System Quality Consultant, Global Biotechnology Firm
“In addition to showing how requirements are identified, evaluated, and confirmed, Ellen provides important guidance based on her own real-world experience for creating and managing the workshop environment in which requirements are generated. This book is an engaging and invaluable resource for project teams and sponsors, both business and IT, who are committed to achieving results in the most productive manner possible.”–Hal Thilmony, Senior Manager, Business Process Improvement (Finance), CiscoSystems, Inc.
“Project managers should read this book for assistance with planning the requirements process. Experienced facilitators will enrich their knowledge. New facilitators can use this book to get them up to speed and become more effective in less time.”–Rob Stroober, Competence Development Manager and Project Manager, Deloitte &Touche Consultdata, The Netherlands
“While many books discuss the details of software requirement artifacts (for example, use cases), Ellen’s new book zeros in on effective workshop techniques and tools used to gather the content of these artifacts. As a pioneer in requirements workshops, she shares her real-life experiences in a comprehensive and easy-to-read book with many helpful examples and diagrams.”–Bill Bird, Aera Energy LLC
“Requirements by Collaboration is absolutely full of guidance on the most effective ways to use workshops in requirements capture. This book will help workshop owners and facilitators to determine and gain agreement on a sound set of requirements, which will form a solid foundation for the development work that is to follow.”–Jennifer Stapleton, Software Process Consultant and author of DSDM: The Methodin Practice
“This book provides an array of techniques within a clear, structured process, along with excellent examples of how and when to use them. It’s an excellent, practical, and really useful handbook written by a very experienced author!”–Jean-Anne Kirk, Director DSDM Consortium and IAF Professional Development
“Ellen has written a detailed, comprehensive, and practical handbook for facilitating groups in gathering requirements. The processes she outlines give the facilitator tools to bring together very different perspectives from stakeholders elegantly and with practical, useable results.”–Jo Nelson, Principal, ICA Associates, Inc., Chair, IAF (2001-2002)
Requirements by Collaboration: Workshops for Defining Needs focuses on the human side of software development--how well we work with our customers and teammates. Experience shows that the quality and degree of participation, communication, respect, and trust among all the stakeholders in a project can strongly influence its success or failure. Ellen Gottesdiener points out that such qualities are especially important when defining user requirements and she shows in this book exactly what to do about that fact.
Gottesdiener shows specifically how to plan and conduct requirements workshops. These carefully organized and facilitated meetings bring business managers, technical staff, customers, and users into a setting where, together, they can discover, evolve, validate, verify, and agree upon their product needs. Not only are their requirements more effectively defined through this collaboration, but the foundation is laid for good teamwork throughout the entire project.
Other books focus on how to build the product right. Requirements by Collaboration focuses instead on what must come first--the right product to build.
List of Figures.
List of Tables.
The Organization of This Book.
I. OVERVIEW OF REQUIREMENTS WORKSHOPS.1. Getting Started with Requirements Workshops.
Difficulties with Requirements.
Surfacing User Requirements.
User Requirements Models.
Workshops and Collaboration.
Workshops and Facilitation.
How Workshops Differ from Typical Meetings.
Types of Requirements Workshops.
Other Uses for Workshops.
Workshops and Iterative Development.
Making the Business Case for a Requirements Workshop.
When Not to Use Requirements Workshops.
For More Information.2. Workshop Deliverables: Mining Coal, Extracting Diamonds.
The Evolution of Requirements.
Model Views, Focuses, and Levels of Detail.
Level of Detail.
Building the Models.
Decision Table or Decision Tree.
Use Case Map.
Use Case Package.
User Interface Navigation Diagram.
For More Information.3. Ingredients of a Successful Requirements Workshop.
A Shared Purpose.
The Right People.
Using Both Sides of the Brain.
II. REQUIREMENTS WORKSHOP FRAMEWORK.4. Purpose: Sharing a Common Goal.
Writing Your Workshop Purpose Statement.
Don't Assume Anything.
Seek the Stories.
Link Workshop Purpose with Project Vision.
Defining Project Scope.
Identifying the Workshop Sponsor.
Defining the Workshop Planning Team.
Sample Purpose Statements.
Purpose for Horizontal Top-Down Requirements Workshop.
Horizontal Middle-Out Requirements Workshop.
Horizontal Bottom-Up Requirements Workshop.
Vertical Strategy Requirements Workshop.
Zigzag Strategy Requirements Workshop.
Questions to Ask Stakeholders.
Questions Related to Project Purpose.
Questions Related to Workshop Purpose.
For More Information.5. Participants: Roles People Play.
The Workshop Sponsor.
The Project Sponsor.
Having Sponsors in the Workshop.
Facilitator as Planner and Designer.
Facilitator as Process Leader.
Facilitator Observation and Intervention Skills.
Other Facilitator Considerations.
Should You Hire an Outside Facilitator?
On-Call Subject Matter Experts.
Questions to Ask Stakeholders About Participant Roles.
For More Information.6. Principles: Ground Rules for the Workshop.
Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing.
Basic Ground Rules.
Special Ground Rules.
Values-Based Ground Rules.
Culturally Aware Ground Rules.
Introducing and Testing Ground Rules.
Decision-Making Ground Rules.
Product and Process Decisions.
Collaborative Decision Making.
A Real-World Example.
Questions to Ask Stakeholders About Ground Rules.
For More Information.7. Products: Ending with the Beginning.
Making Deliverables Visually Rich.
Select Models Aligned with the Business Problem.
Use Multiple Models.
Mix Text and Diagrammatic Models.
Mix Focuses and Views.
Define the Level of Detail.
Iteratively Deliver Requirements.
Prioritize the Deliverables.
Partition Requirements Across Workshops.
Define Doneness Tests.
Doneness Testing and Decision Making.
Intangible Output Products.
The Workshop Agenda.
System and User Documentation.
The Workshop Repository.
Questions to Ask Stakeholders About Products.
For More Information.8. Place: Being There.
Creating Sticky Walls.
Preparing the Workshop Room.
Different Time and Place Options.
Collaborative Technology Variants.
Collaborative Technology: A Caveat.
For More Information.9. Process: Plan the Work, Work the Plan.
Opening the Workshop.
Elements of a Workshop Activity.
Sample Workshop Activity.
Estimating Activity Time.
Using Focus Questions.
QA As You Go.
Wall of Wonder.
Divide, Conquer, Correct, Collect.
Expand Then Contract.
Combining Collaboration Patterns.
Techniques for Guiding the Flow.
The Parking Lot.
The Value of Conflict.
How to Deal with Difficult Participants.
Fun and Games.
Closing the Workshop.
Addressing Parking Lot Items.
Tools for the Workshop Process.
For More Information.
III. REQUIREMENTS WORKSHOP DESIGN STRATEGIES.10. Workshop Navigation Strategies.
The Horizontal Strategy.
Picking Your Horizontal Strategy.
The Top-Down Approach.
The Middle-Out Approach.
The Bottom-Up Approach.
The Vertical Strategy.
Pick a Starting Model.
Pick a Primary Focus.
Start at the Scope Level or the High Level.
The Vertical Strategy with Multiple Workshops.
The Zigzag Strategy.
Comparing the Strategies.11. Workshop Case Studies.
What Worked Well.
Pitfalls and Learning Points.
What Worked Well.
Pitfalls and Learning Points.
What Worked Well.
Pitfalls and Learning Points.
What Worked Well.
Pitfalls and Learning Points.12. Moving Forward.
Making the Case to Management.
The Business Value of Requirements Workshops.
Critical Success Factors.
How to Evaluate Workshops.
What to Report.
Deliverable Data to Capture.
Cost-Benefit Data to Capture.
The Post-Workshop Survey.
Regular Workshop Debriefs.
Integrating Workshops into the Requirements Phase.
Becoming a Skilled Requirements Workshop Facilitator.
How Much Must the Facilitator Know?
What Do Business Users Need to Know?
Ground Rules for the Facilitator.
For More Information.Appendix: Collaboration Patterns.