elicitation n.
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  1. Elicitation

  2. Reading / Document Analysis • Books • Summary per chapter • Highlight the most important parts • Use a key-word index • Vocabulary • Company reports • Organization Charts • Policy Manuals • Job Description • Documentation of existing systems

  3. Reading • Macrosystem Documents (A more careful reading) • Underline repeated words • Synonymies • Take note of unknown terms • Search for relationships among terms • Vocabulary

  4. Reading • Macro system Documents • Understand the structure of the documents • How they relate/point to each other

  5. Reading • Reading Similar Documents: • Identify structures • Relate structures • vocabulary

  6. Document Reading • + • Easy access to different sources of information • Volume of information • Helps you to prepare to use other techniques • - • Information can be very dispersed • Considerable amount of work is required to identify relevant facts • Written documents are often “late” • Process change – Document don’t

  7. Interviews • Most used Technique • But should not be the only one • Can be used for: • Learn What the present system does • What stakeholders need • Can be • Structured • Unstructured (Informal)

  8. Process: Interviewing Stakeholders • Prepare detailed questions • Meet with individuals • Interview as many stakeholders as possible up to 3 or 4 • Obtain and discuss answers to the questions • To obtain REAL requirements, focus on the problem, not solution! • Document the answers • Follow up as needed in future meetings or interviews • Multiple sessions frequently needed

  9. Planning and Preparation • Set goals and objectives for the interview • Acquire background knowledge of the subject matter to conduct an effective interview • About the domain (vocabulary, problems...), but also about the interviewee (work tasks, attitude...) • Prepare questions in advance, by subject • Provide questions to the interviewee(s) ahead of time? • Organize the environment for conducting an effective interview • Determine how the elicitation notes will be taken (manually, audio, video, by whom…)

  10. The Interview Session • Make the interviewee comfortable and confident • Arrive on TIME !! • Be polite and respectful! • Adjust to the interviewee • You have your goals – be persistent but flexible • Interview several people at once to create synergy (?) • Try to detect political aspects as they may influence the said and the unsaid • Interviewing multiple people at once may complicate things!

  11. Relationship Models • Relationship model to aim for: • Master/Apprentice: • Analyst plays the role of the “apprentice” who wants to learn a craft from the “master” (the interviewee). • Relationship models to avoid • Novice/Expert • Interviewee/Interviewer • Analyst should be able to enforce relationship model

  12. Structured Interview • What to ask • Objective questions with precise target • One question should be related to the other • How to ask • Usually 1 to 1 • Can be 1 to n or n to 1 • Requires some knowledge about the problem to formulate the questions • Tape it ?

  13. Pros • Assure you will organize thoughts and activities • Targets specific things • Easier to summarize it later • Pushes stakeholder to be systematic “on the target” • Facilitates to remove “distortion” from interviewees subjectively

  14. Cons • Requires more time • You need to have extensive (or at least good) knowledge of the business • May lead you to not explore things you should • May looks like stakeholders are been “pushed against the wall”

  15. Non-Structured Interview • More flexible • But still with a pre-defined guideline of questions • Informal • But always keep control • Mostly used during exploratory phases • Sometimes interesting to be used later also to solve conflicts or to further explore alternatives

  16. Pros • Good when you are new to the business • Can be used to explore ideas and doubts • Often the stakeholders feel better and may disclose more information • Helps to see the “big picture”

  17. Cons • What you get may not be relevant to your system • Hard to summarize findings • Do not favor to obtain specific knowledge • Not everybody can do it well – Interviewing skills highly desirable • Might lead you to repeat questions in the future (It can be quite annoying to be answering the same thing over and over)

  18. The Interview Process Prepare Carry out Follow up

  19. Interviews • Follow Up – Essential • After the interview write down what you understood • Send it to the user(s) involved and ask for a feedback (Have I got it right?) • Ask if the user(s) want to add anything

  20. Some tips • Start the interview with some small talk. Try to set people at easy • Easy questions always come first • Personal information • Organization/Sector structure • Even if it is an structured interview probe for details when needed. But be careful not to get lost • If the time allows, towards the end use open-ended questions. • Is there anything else you think we should know about ?

  21. Common Interview Mistakes [3] • Trying to convince stakeholders that YOU are smart – wrong place to do that! • Instead take every opportunity to show you think the stakeholder is smart • E.g.: I don’t think so.I think you have anElevator ThroughputProblem, not a Speed Problem. My elevators are too slow!

  22. Common Interview Mistakes [3] • Trying to convince stakeholders that YOU are smart – wrong place to do that! • Instead take every opportunity to show you think the stakeholder is smart • E.g.: My elevators are too slow! I see. Tell me why you feel that they are too slow.

  23. Common Interview Mistakes [3] • Trying to convince stakeholders that YOU are smart – wrong place to do that! • Instead take every opportunity to show you think the stakeholder is smart • E.g.: My elevators are too slow! I see. Tell me why you feel that they are too slow. People are complaining about the lines. What improvement are you looking for?

  24. Common Interview Mistakes [3] • Trying to convince stakeholders that YOU are smart – wrong place to do that! • Instead take every opportunity to show you think the stakeholder is smart • E.g.: My elevators are too slow! I see. Tell me why you feel that they are too slow. People are complaining about the lines. What improvement are you looking for? How about installing some mirrors by the elevators? No complaints about the wait times!

  25. Interviews – Startup Questions [1] • Context-free questions to narrow the scope a bit (Weinberg) • Identify customers, goals, and benefits • Who is (really) behind the request for the system? • Who will use the system? Willingly? • Are there several types of users? • What is the potential economic benefit from a successful solution? • Is there a (pre-existing) solution available from another source?

  26. Interviews – Startup Questions [2] • When do you need it by? • Can you prioritize your needs? • What are your constraints? • Time • Budget • Resources (human or otherwise) • Expected milestones (deliverables and dates)?

  27. Interviews – Startup Questions [3] • Try to characterize the problem and its solution • What would be a “good” solution to the problem? • What problems is the system trying to address? • In what environment will the system be used?

  28. Interviews – Calibration and Tracking Questions • Are you the right person to answer these questions? • Are your answers “official”? If not, whose are? • Are these questions relevant to the problem as you see it? • Is there anyone else I should talk to? • Is there anything else I should be asking you? Have you told me everything you know about the problem? • Do you have any questions?

  29. Interviews – Questions that Cannot Be Asked Directly • Ask INDIRECTLY! Observe reactions. • Are you opposed to the system? • Are you trying to obstruct/delay the system? • Are you trying to create a more important role for yourself? • Do you feel threatened by the proposed system? • Are you trying to protect your job? • Is your job threatened by the new system? • Is anyone else's?

  30. Interviews – How long should it be?

  31. Interviews – Summary • Advantages • Can help gauge people’s real feelings, needs, etc.; direct contact with stakeholders • Can validate right away • Flexibility: can direct discussion so that the right information is obtained • Disadvantages • Needs skills • May be hard to make sense of the result and compare with other stakeholders • Expensive, time consuming • Challenges • Unanswerable questions • Identify Tacit Knowledge • Removal from context • Biases caused by interviewer’s attitude • Subjectivity

  32. Questionnaires • What should one ask ? • Asks for some knowledge about the problem • Therefore you should have a minimum understanding about the problem • similar to the structured interview

  33. Questionnaires Types • qualitative • Allows the one answering to further considerations • Makes a later analysis more difficult • Control questions – We can stimulate conflicts in order to verify the consistency of what is being told • quantitative • grading ( Yes, No/ Good, medium, bad/ 0,1,2,3,4) • Question has to be well formed to allow a good distribution of the answers • Open-ended

  34. 5 – Do you think that it is important to allow recording more than two channels at the same time? (PVR development ) Number of Answers Yes No Examples • Quantitative

  35. 8 – How easily can you retrieve information from Patient’s Medical Records ? Number of Answers Not easy at all Kind of easily easily Examples

  36. Examples • Qualitative How do you see your background regarding the development of quality software? What do you think would be necessary to improve your performance? What knowledges would like to get? Why ? • Objective: verify the opinion regarding training policy • Why ?: A mature organization has to have well defined training policies. • Control question.

  37. Quantitative questions Questionnaires Qualitative questions [Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World, 6th Edition]

  38. Quantitative questions Questionnaires Open-ended questions Qualitative questions [Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World, 6th Edition]

  39. Questionnaires • + • Standard questions • Statistical treatment possible • Can reach a large number of people • Can reach people virtually anywhere in the world • - • Answers are constrained • Few or no interaction/participation • Number of questionnaires returned can be disappointing • Difficult to design • Avoiding ambiguities • What questions should I ask? • How should I phrase them?

  40. Group Elicitation / Meetings • An extension of an interview or • Direct and Intense participation • Short and intense periods • Focus • Brainstorming, Requirements Workshops or Joint Application Design (JAD) • Advantages • Good at gaining a consensus view and/or highlighting areas of conflict • Disadvantages • Can be dominated by individuals • Politics can play a role; mind the boss/subordinate dynamics • Need trained facilitator

  41. Brainstorming • To invent new way of doing things or when much is unknown • When there are few or too many ideas • Early on in a project particularly when: • Terrain is uncertain • There is little expertise for the type of applications • Innovation is important (e.g., novel system) • Two main activities: • The Storm: Generating as many ideas as possible (quantity, not quality) – wild is good! • The Calm: Filtering out of ideas (combine, clarify, prioritize, improve…) to keep the best one(s) – may require some voting strategy • Roles: scribe, moderator (may also provoke), participants

  42. Brainstorming – Objectives • Hear ideas from everyone, especially unconventional ideas • Keep the tone informal and non-judgemental • Keep the number of participants “reasonable“ – if too many, consider a “playoff “-type filtering and invite back the most creative to multiple sessions • Encourage creativity • Choose good, provocative project name • Choose good, provocative problem statement • Get a room without distractions, but with good acoustics, whiteboards, coloured pens, provide coffee/donuts/pizza • Provide appropriate props/mock-ups

  43. Brainstorming – Roles • Scribe • Write down all ideas (may also contribute) • May ask clarifying questions during first phase but without criticizing • Moderator/Leader • Cannot be the scribe • Two schools of thought: traffic cop or agent provocateur • Traffic cop – enforces “rules of order”, but does not throw his/her weight around otherwise • Agent provocateur – traffic cop plus more of a leadership role, comes prepared with wild ideas and throws them out as discussion wanes • May also explicitly look for variations and combinations of other suggestions

  44. Brainstorming – Participants • Virtually any stakeholder, e.g.: • Developers • Domain experts • End-users • Clients • ... • “Ideas-people” – a company may have a special team of people • Chair or participate in brainstorming sessions • Not necessarily further involved with the project

  45. Brainstorming – The Storm • Goal is to generate as many ideas as possible • Quantity, not quality, is the goal at this stage • Look to combine or vary ideas already suggested • No criticism or debate is permitted – do not want to inhibit participants • Participants understand nothing they say will be held against them later on • Scribe writes down all ideas where everyone can see • E.g., whiteboard, paper taped to wall • Ideas do not leave the room • Wild is good • Feel free to be gloriously wrong • Participants should NOT censor themselves or take too long to consider whether an idea is practical or not – let yourself go!

  46. Brainstorming – The Calm • Go over the list of ideas and explain them more clearly • Categorize into “maybe” and “no” by pre-agreed consensus method • Informal consensus • 50% + 1 vote vs. “clear majority” • Does anyone have veto power? • Be careful about time and people • Meetings (especially if creative or technical in nature) tend to lose focus after 90 to 120 minutes – take breaks or reconvene later • Be careful not to offend participants • Review, consolidate, combine, clarify, improve • Rank the list by priority somehow • Choose the winning idea(s)

  47. Brainstorming – Idea Elimination • There are some common ways to eliminate some ideas • Blending ideas • Unify similar ideas but be aware not to force fit everything into one idea • Give each participant X tokens to spend on the ideas • Apply acceptance criteria prepared prior to meeting • Eliminate the ideas that do not meet the criteria • Various ranking or scoring methods • Assign points for criteria met, possibly use a weighted formula • Vote with threshold or campaign speeches • Possibly select top k for voting treatment

  48. Meetings JAD (Joint Application Design) • Developed at IBM in the 1970s • Lots of success stories • “Structured brainstorming”, IBM-style • Full of structure, defined roles, forms to be filled out... • Several activities and six (human) roles to be played • JAD session may last few days Involves • Objectives • System Requirements • External Project

  49. Meetings Principles of JAD • Group dynamic • Visual resources • Organized and rational process • Documenting using the idea of “What you see is what you get” (WYSISYG)

  50. JAD – Applicability • Used for making decisions on different aspects of a project • Any process where consensus-based decision making across functional areas is required, e.g.: • Planning a project • Defining requirements • Designing a solution