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Business Analysis Soft Skills: Conversations and Workshops

Learn How to Effectively Communicate with Stakeholders to Discover User Stories, Features, and Non-functional Requirements

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Preview CourseDuration: 1.5 hours
Format: Online course
Author: Tom and Angela Hathaway

Also available as a book (Kindle or Paperback) and covered in this live classroom course.

Sneak preview

What is this course about?

How Can You Effectively Communicate with Your Stakeholders?

A lot of initial uncertainty at the beginning of an IT project comes from not knowing how to approach stakeholders to get their requirements. Should you interview each stakeholder individually or in groups? Whom should you interview first? What can you do to guide stakeholders to give you the information you need to formulate the right requirements?

Unfortunately getting other stakeholders to express their needs and wants vis-à-vis a proposed IT solution is a non-trivial challenge. On top of that, you might be dealing with cross-functional needs which complicates the task even more.

To meet that challenge, we propose that you need to hone your interpersonal skills, in particular your interviewing skills. If you have never interviewed another person before, this task alone can be intimidating.

Why Should You Take This Course?

Since interviewing other people for requirements is not an intuitive skill, this course presents a wide range of techniques for planning, preparing, and performing requirements elicitation interviews and workshops as well as polishing and publishing the results. It defines the characteristics of a good requirements interviewer to help you recognize areas for personal growth.

To guide you through the intricacies of conducting group interviews, it includes expert advice on facilitating effective Requirements Workshops (ie. JAD, RDW, User Story Workshops, Requirements Gathering Workshops, etc.), a powerful requirements elicitation technique for managing cross-functional group meetings on traditional and Agile software development methodologies.

The presented material is based on our experience gained in consulting contracts with organizations of every size, from small businesses to multi-nationals and governments. These topics are the core of extensive instructor-led training programs we have presented to tens of thousands of people around the world. As a value add-on, many of the presented ideas are not limited to IT projects; they can improve the outcomes of all of your personal and professional endeavors.

Who should take this course?

  • Product Owners
  • Business Analysts
  • Requirements Engineers
  • Business- and Customer-side Team Members
  • Agile Team Members
  • Subject Matter Experts (SME)
  • Project Leaders and Managers
  • Systems Analysts and Designers
  • AND “anyone wearing the business analysis hat”, meaning anyone responsible for defining a future IT solution

What Can You Do After the Course?

Specifically, this course will help you get more and better requirements by teaching you how to:

  • Define and distinguish five specific requirements elicitation approaches from one-on-one Requirements Interviews to Requirements Gathering Workshops
  • Evaluate the pros and cons of each approach for your organization and project
  • Prepare, perform, and manage effective requirements gathering interviews and workshops
  • Use informational and active listening to discover hidden requirements during interviews and workshops
  • Recognize the specific challenges and strengths of facilitated requirements workshops involving cross-functional groups of stakeholders
  • Improve your interviewing skills by analyzing the best-practice attitudes and characteristics of effective interviewers

Detailed Course Outline

Introduction to Requirements Elicitation Interviews & Workshops

  • Welcome to the Course (FREE Preview)
  • What Exactly Is “Requirements Elicitation” and Who Needs It Anyway? (FREE Preview)

Best Practices for Requirements Interviews

  • Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance (FREE Preview)
  • Start Your Requirements Interview on the Right Foot (FREE Preview)
  • Perform Under Pressure
  • Make Sure You Can Talk the Talk
  • Maintain Control throughout the Requirements Interview
  • Close the Requirements Interview in Style

Characteristics of an Effective Requirements Interviewer

  • Three Common Traits of Effective Requirements Interviewers (FREE Preview)
  • Maintain Momentum during the Requirements Interview
  • Leverage Active and Informational Listening to Hear Requirements
  • Impediments to Effective Listening
  • Overcome the Impediments

Help Stakeholders Discover Requirements

  • What Are the Five Elicitation Approaches and What Is the Simplest for Starters (FREE Preview)
  • Formal, Face-to-Face Requirements Interviews
  • Requirements Elicitation Using Email
  • Teleconference for Requirements
  • Requirements Gathering Workshops

How to Run a Requirements Gathering Workshop

  • How Requirements Gathering Workshops Work (FREE Preview)
  • Plan and Prepare for a Productive Requirements Gathering Workshop
  • How to Perform during the Workshop
  • Polish and Publish the Workshop Results

Requirements Interviews & Workshops Wrap-up

  • What Do You Do Next?
  • Finishing Touches for this Course

Lesson Previews

Learn Lean / Agile Business Analysis Techniques

Book - Lean Agile User Stories and Features

Self-paced Course – Agile Business Analysis: Getting and Writing Lean Requirements

Lean Business Analysis for Lean Requirements: Techniques for Discovering and Writing User Stories, Acceptance Tests, Scenarios and Examples

Requirements Gathering with Use Cases for Business Analysts

Lean Use Cases to identify and write Use Case models and diagrams

Chatting with Humans: User Experience Design (UX) for Chatbots

Simple Conversational Design and Science-based Chatbot Copy that Engages People

Business Analysis: Data Flow Diagrams to Visualize Workflows

Data Flow Diagrams and Process Modeling - Simply Put

Business Analyst Skills Test

Evaluate Your Business Analysis Skills


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