Eliciting requirements sounds like the easiest task in the world. Ask questions to users or the business and get the requirements. In the real world this process is one of the most difficult parts of the project. If the requirements are not fully understood, it will create issues in your analysis and decrease your chances of efficiency and success. If you can properly elecit, verify, and validate the requirements, you will lay the foundation for an effective project.
The phrase "gather requirements" does not express the real mission of the IT project requirements. You are not a cave man, you do not gather requirements, they are not just laying around on the ground for you to pick them up. "Elicit" is the word that better matches the job. Elicit refers to an active role in IT requirements consolidation, verification and validation. Merriam-Webster defines elicit as; “To draw forth or bring out (something latent or potential), To call forth or draw out (as information or a response)”. “it is the responsibility of project stakeholders to provide, clarify, specify, and prioritize requirements. Furthermore, it is the right of project stakeholders that developers invest the time to identify and understand those requirements. This concept is critical to your success as an agile modeler, it is the role of project stakeholders to provide requirements, it is the role of developers to understand and implement them.” (Ambler, 2011)
When I was a young soldier I was given a mission. Before we left we had to read back everything we heard to make sure we understood the plan to its original intent. This may seem crude but it ensured every person on the team had the same picture of success in their head. If IT managers and stakeholders could have the same level of accuracy they would also experience the same level of success. There are several ways to elicit requirements from a stakeholders. An IT project manager should not only be proficient in them but identify a process to use as many of these methods as possible. Interviews, workshops, focus groups, brainstorming, observation, and surveys are all key methods to elicit, verify and validate a requirement. All of these methods share three basic parts, preparation, execution and re-assessment, they do have differences.
Individual and group interviews offer the opportunity for detailed information and communication through the use of open and closed ended questioning. The preparation for an interview you must have a goal. Ask yourself, “what do you intend to achieve by conducting the interview?” Now you will need to determine who needs to be involved. Some considerations when interviewing are, will terminology cause a communication barrier and are you or someone on the interviewing panel paying attention to the interviewee’s body language and choice of language? Should the interview be structured with an agenda and a set of questions, or unstructured with a loose agenda, depending more on improvised interaction?...