Gathering Project Requirements
The most important function of requirements gathering is to accurately define the project scope in consultation with the project stakeholders. A precise definition of the project scope will prevent scope creep that is not desirable in a project environment. Conducting a thorough gathering session will enable the establishment of a framework for the creation of a solution, without the development of detailed techniques for its achievement. Several techniques are used to gather the project requirements, including Joint Application Development or JAD sessions. This method requires proper JAD training that will lead to suitable JAD planning. JAD facilitation by a coordinator is an important aspect of this technique. Other types of techniques include brainstorming, interviewing, and surveying. Answering questions by the stakeholders using the interview technique is important, and should be carefully conducted. A requirements gathering session should conclude when stakeholder needs and expectations of the project become available. Realizing that project delays can add to the cost of projects, requirements gathering sessions should not be unnecessarily prolonged.
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What Are JAD Sessions
Joint Application Development (JAD) is basically a process in which the customer is involved in the application development by a series of workshops. The JAD methodology enables a rapid development, and enhanced customer contentment, since the customer is continuously involved in the project. The requirements of the system are investigated, and the application is developed with the input from customer by a sequence of interviews. JAD sessions are usually used for multiple fields where customer agreement is required. This includes business requirements gathering, case studies, creation of execution plans, development of quality plans, etc. The primary aim of JAD sessions is to decrease the time needed for the completion of deliverables. Normally, the JAD sessions are expensive compared to other methods, like brainstorming techniques, due to the additional costs required for JAD training, and the JAD facilitation team. However, since these sessions are effective, and are completed in a short period of time, these techniques are preferred in some organizations. The requirements of the systems can be documented effectively, precisely, and rapidly, by the JAD sessions, compared to the conventional methodology.
Conduct of JAD Sessions
JAD sessions are conducted by arranging a meeting of the concerned subject matter experts, stakeholders, and the key management team, all being available at the same time. These are the people who have the detailed information about the project and its requirements. Time is reduced considerably due to the presence of all these important persons, who can provide valuable input for the project. Therefore, the decisions are facilitated expeditiously by the JAD facilitation team. When the interviewing technique is used, answering questions becomes simpler and a precise solution is available promptly. Questions which may take weeks and months to be answered are settled in a few minutes of discussion.
Continue to page 2 to read about techniques for JAD sessions.
Techniques for JAD Sessions
JAD sessions are successful not only due to the simultaneous presence of vital persons but also due to the techniques applied by the JAD
facilitation team to obtain rapid solutions. It is important that the selection of the persons to be invited for the JAD sessions should be proper, and in accordance with the project requirements. JAD sessions may be attended by those who can make decisions and provide project information, including the sponsor, project management team, and the key customers. Normally, a JAD session is conducted by a facilitator, who has obtained JAD training. He ensures that the discussion is on the correct path, and the sessions are productive and produce valuable outcomes. Appropriate time should be allocated to the discussions so that consensus and conclusion is reached. The project should be accurately defined and approved during, or immediately after the conclusion of the JAD sessions.
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When JAD Sessions Used
JAD sessions are effectively applied on numerous types of projects, including the latest systems, upgrading of the systems already in existence, conversion of systems, and purchase of new systems. JAD sessions are normally used when the organization is executing the first project due to which the procedures are not fully streamlined, or where the success of the project is vital for the forthcoming organization or business. It is also useful when the organization has a history of difficult or failed projects.
Role of JAD Facilitation Team
The JAD facilitation team has an important role in the JAD sessions, and the success of these sessions is greatly dependent upon their capability in these techniques. The JAD facilitator is responsible for the conduct, and is the leader of these sessions. The discussions are likely to drift from the main issues, if this team is not trained and competent. Therefore, it is extremely important that the role of JAD facilitation is performed by a professional team, with full expertise in this discipline. It is the facilitation team that guides the gathering to reach at practical solutions, in the shortest time. The solution is greatly dependent upon the JAD training, JAD planning, and management of JAD sessions by the JAD facilitation team.