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Best of: 8 Tips for a Successful Requirement Elicitation

The key to a successful requirement elicitation session for a business analyst starts with asking the right questions.


This is not a natural skill for many but something that needs to be perfected over time. For starters, keeping a checklist of questions can be an effective measure. So here are few tips to help you get started.



  1. A Business Analyst’s involvement in a project usually starts with the kick off meeting. When you do your introduction to the client, face to face or over a con- call, make sure to explain who you are, your role in the project and what you would like to achieve through this meeting.
  2. While addressing the client, please address them by their first names; especially those from a different country/culture. For e.g. please do not second guess if Robert is Rob or Bob and end up annoying the client. The best you can do is ask them.
  3. Be an active listener. Do not interrupt the client unnecessarily. Towards the end of the meeting, paraphrasing what you have heard will make sure you both are on the same page. For the elicitation to work well, you need to understand what people are saying and also try to read between the lines to understand what they might be hesitant to say.
  4. You need to gather aspects based on the Who/What/Why/When/Where model. Always ask the right questions. While talking to stakeholders, what robs the BA of her credibility is the use of fillers such as, “umm, ahh, like, so, you know…” between sentences that communicate uncertainty and can be quite distracting. If you tend to use these, try to replace them with thoughtful pauses between your sentences. It’s best to avoid hedgers such as, “kind of, sort of, I feel, I gather” and “I suppose”. Instead replace them with strong words, facts, statements of “I know” or “In my research I found that”.
  5. The questions should be framed based on the current state of the system in question, the goals and objectives, pain points, the desired future state, users, success criteria and assumptions.
  6. Some of the clients might ask you to hand over the questions in advance so that they can be well prepared for the call. There is no harm in doing so.
  7. Please do not follow templates blindly that are being used by your organization. Do not try to fit into a model. Rather try to create one based on BA best/good practices.
  8. Do not use technical jargons while dealing with business stakeholders. A BA should be able to speak the language of the audience she is talking to.



To do an effective job while eliciting the requirements, it is necessary that all the stakeholders involved share a common vision regarding the requirements. Be aware of the above mentioned loop holes that can lead you off track. For a successful requirement elicitation, the BA needs to understand the overall business picture/product vision and should be able to relate how the individual project objectives support this big picture.