8 Essential Business Analysis Questions for a Successful Elicitation Session

Elicitation means to “call forth or draw out” requirements and designs with stakeholders. The goal of elicitation is to actively engage stakeholders in defining requirements.

While the concerned knowledge area (Elicitation and Collaboration) covers Communicating Business Analysis information with stakeholders as well as ensuring there is Collaboration in meeting the objectives of the analysis, it is however the Elicitation tasks that deals with the derivation of requirements and designs from a spectrum of stakeholders.

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This therefore is key in developing the right solution to business needs.

For elicitation to be effective, it needs to achieve a specific purpose. This means that our elicitation need to be guided so it achieves its purpose. This means that the business analyst and the participants in the session cannot afford to meander or rambling away with questions or discussions that do not provide any value to the business analysis work.

“Guiding” elicitation means to think of the right questions to ask to obtain the desired outcomes from elicitation.

To achieve this clarity and focus, the business analyst needs to keep 8 important questions in mind while conducting his elicitation sessions. Think of these as the “eight essential business analysis questions.”

They are:

1.       What are my elicitation activity goals and agenda?

2.      What is the scope of the change?

3.      What type of output will each activity produce?

4.      What could a given output also support (such as a data model providing insights into and supporting a process model)?

5.      How will a specific output integrate into what we already know?

6.      Who would provide me with the information I need?

7.       Who will use the information I produce?

8.      How will the information I produce be used?

If these questions are asked (and answered effectively) the business analyst is on his way to a very successful elicitation session and business analysis work.