3 Different Requirements Gathering “Dances”

When you watch Dancing with the Stars, there are certain elements you are looking for as each couple takes their turn on the dance floor.  You are watching for their technique, their ability to listen and interpret the music, the confidence on their faces, and that spark between the couples.  Each week you watch, a different couple seems to shine depending on the dance that they perform.  What you are looking for is the magic of all these elements working together to create a dance with two people that are working as one.

When you are gathering requirements, each person that you elicit information from works with you differently.  Some people you will develop rapport immediately and understand what each other is saying.  These people are the magic for you – you ask them open ended questions and obtain detailed information that you can validate.  They are the ‘willing’ dance partners.

Talking to other people may require several discussions together to develop rapport and to understand common language in order to elicit and understand their requirements.  This is a tougher dance – you are working harder with this person to get them to trust you and to work with you.

Then there is the group that would prefer that you are not discussing requirements with them at all (picture someone who refuses to wear the dance shoes that are required of a ballroom dancer).  These people resist your questions, your advances and refuse to listen to the music, no matter how many different elicitation techniques you use.

What does all of this show?  That we are all unique, that we each have something to contribute to the requirements gathering.  The magic is in the business analyst finding the way to get the most out of each of their team by recognizing their strengths and weaknesses and working with them to get them to shine.  Then and only then does the dance work!

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Comments

  1. Michelle Swoboda says

    Bennett, your analogy is fabulous! – let’s get the salsa and tango teams together!

  2. So, basically we should take up dancing if we want to become good BA’s ? (kidding 🙂

    The analogy is a good one. In fact, the BA has to be a good dancer with the business folks (let’s say salsa) and a good dancer with the tech folks ( tango).

    Or put another way, she must perform well in artistic merit and technical merit respectively.

  3. Quite a different spin on the story, does someone like watching Dancing with the Stars? Maybe we’ll see the Pationate BA on the dance floor some day? It does bring out that the ability to identify the stakeholder’s strengths, weeknesses, way he/she works, or “ability to listen to the music” is one of the important “soft” skills of a BA. Once you have mastered that you are well on your way to becoming a Senior BA!

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