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Requirements elicitation is an especially critical step in the requirements development process, when the needs and constraints of the project are identified by the stakeholders. The goal is to define the users requirements which are middle level statements of needs of a stakeholder (the two other levels are business requirements and functional requirements). These are tasks that users need to perform with the help of the system, and also users’ expectations about the effectiveness, convenience and usability of the system and other attributes of the system’s quality.


General principles of effective requirements identification.


The analyst needs to structure and systematize the array of information received in the process of identifying requirements. Simply asking users the question: “What do you want?” you get a lot of unordered information so that to be completely awash with it. Question: “What do you need to do? – make the situation much better.


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The outcome of the requirements formulation phase is a consistent view of how the needs of all project stakeholders should be met. It is now much easier for developers to offer alternative ways of meeting these needs. Those who are engaged in identifying requirements should not be tempted to immediately begin designing the system until the problem becomes absolutely clear. Otherwise, prepare for a significant revision of the project as the requirements are detailed. Focusing on the tasks of users, not on the interface, paying attention to key needs, and not to the wishes makes it possible for the team to neglect the details of the architecture – as it is premature to deal with this issue now.


First, think about how you are going to identify the project requirements. Even a simple plan increases the chances of success and makes the expectations of all stakeholders more realistic. Only by clearly estimating resources needs, release dates and scheduling it is possible to prevent individuals involved in identifying requirements from being recalled to correct mistakes or perform other work. The plan should contain:


Objectives for identifying requirements (for example, checking market data, investigating use cases, or developing a detailed set of functional requirements for the system.



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