Prepare elicitation by completing 5 activities.
April 26, 2020

Prepare elicitation by completing 5 activities.

By Lau

“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail”

– Benjamin Frankling —
By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail. - Benjamin Frankling Click To Tweet

In the previous article, we talked about elicitation and we learned that it is the way to obtain the necessary information to identify the user’s need. As business analysts, we know in theory what elicitation is and what we have to do to carry it out, but it is hard to find a proper explanation about how to prepare it. In this article, I will tell you how by completing 5 activities.

Most of the information in this article has been taken from the BABOK® Guide. The information has been reorganised, summarized and clarifying descriptions have been added to make it easier for beginners to understand.

“The purpose of Prepare for Elicitation is to understand the scope of the elicitation activity, select appropriate techniques, and plan for appropriate supporting materials and resources.”

1. Understand the Scope of Elicitation

Understanding the scope of elicitation will allow us to define the techniques and materials necessary for its effectiveness. This activity represents an understanding of the context in which the elicitation will take place.

The BABOK guide lists the following list of information to obtain prior to elicitation.

  • business domain, 
  • overall corporate culture and environment,
  • stakeholder locations, 
  • stakeholders who are involved and their group dynamics, 
  • expected outputs the elicitation activities will feed,
  • other elicitation activities planned to complement this one,
  • strategy or solution approach, 
  • scope of the future solution, and
  • possible sources of the business analysis information that might feed into the specific elicitation activity. 

2. Set Up Logistics 

In this task, the business analyst must organize the manner and means through which the elicitation will be carried out. Some of the pieces of information that the BABOK guide considers necessary to complete this task are the following.

  • the activity’s goals, 
  • participants and their roles,
  • scheduled resources, including people, rooms, and tools,
  • locations,
  • communication channels, 
  • techniques, and
  • languages used by stakeholders (oral and written). The logistics may also involve creating an agenda if other stakeholders are involved. 

3. Secure Supporting Material

The support material corresponds to all kind of sources of information that are necessary at the time of the elicitation. Some examples are people, systems, historical data, materials and documents. Documents could include existing system documents, relevant business rules, organizational policies, regulations, and contracts. 

 4. Prepare Stakeholders 

Depending on the chosen elicitation technique, the business analyst may have to educate the stakeholder about the elicitation technique. The importance of carrying out this prior task is based on reducing the probability that the stakeholder will resist or feel insecure when carrying out said elicitation.

5. Select Elicitation Techniques 

The techniques to use will vary depending on several factors. The distance, the culture of the organization and the expected results will condition the business analyst when deciding which one to use. When selecting elicitation techniques, business analysts consider: 

  • techniques commonly used in similar initiatives,
  • techniques specifically suited to the situation, and
  • the tasks needed to prepare, execute and complete each technique. 

Now you know how to prepare yourself for elicitation. In the next article, we will specifically talk about different elicitation techniques.

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See you soon. 😉