A Comprehensive Guide Into Requirements Gathering Process and Why It’s important

Every business/organization would want to be competitive in their different fields. And for a business to be more competitive, it means they need to have more advantages over other companies. For instance, they have to outperform their competitors.

To be useful in the markets, companies will have to add more value or offer better value, quality products/services to their stakeholders. This can only happen when companies have gathered and organized all their resources towards achieving their goals.

One of the primary objectives or goals of any organization would be to satisfy the needs, wants, or wishes of their stakeholders and enter the flow state to boost productivity.

Companies will have to gather and arrange well-laid requirements to solve their clients’ and stakeholders’ problems in the satisfaction process.

 What are the requirements? 

These are specifications and capabilities of needs or want that a product/service must meet to satisfy users’ needs of solving a problem.

In layman’s language, requirements are what ought to be implemented or expected from project completion. Requirements entail the behavior, attributes, and properties of any future system.

 What does it mean to gather requirements? 

Requirement gathering is the process of curating a list of wants and needs from all the stakeholders to be used based on the formal definition. In other words, the Requirement Gathering Process is the exploratory events of researching and documenting the project’s obligations.

Requirements define a project. An analyst involved in the execution should ensure that the requirements gathered are understandable, relevant, and useful to the task at hand. A well-defined requirement goes a long way in creating solutions to organization problems. It involves understanding what a project will need to deliver.

 What does Requirements Gathering Process involve? 

Requirement gathering Process

  • Investigating facts

Also known as the fact-finding stage. Here, stakeholders of any project identify the goals and objectives of the business/company, then examine the requirements for meeting their dreams/goals.

They also evaluate the resources at their disposal and list additional help they will need. Identify any barriers that may come their way, and propose better solutions for them.

  • Feasibility Check

Here an in-depth analysis of all the process’s relevant factors is considered convenience-based. Stakeholders must discuss the economic, legal, technical, and scheduling considerations involved in the requirements-gathering process. They will have to ascertain the likelihood of the gathering completion.

  • Requirements elicitation

Involves the actual process of obtaining information from the stakeholders. What are the managers’ and members involved perceptions of the project at hand? They have to put into play user satisfaction in mind.

The elicitation process requires that team managers build good relationships and trust with the project stakeholders. How the team relates to the external stakeholders will define their ease of gathering information from the customers, clients, vendors, etc.

Gathering information from stakeholders can be done through interviews, surveys, brainstorming, and analysis of existing documents, among other ways.

Analysts might experience some obstacles during the elicitation of information from team stakeholders, especially;

When there is a lack of clarity on the project’s objective, or unclear requirements that do not fit the organization’s goals will make some stakeholders’ intentions and availability evaporate from the project’s execution.

When some of the stakeholders are distant– it will be effective when all the stakeholders are involved in the elicitation process. However, the further some stakeholders are from the project execution, the more challenging requirement elicitation could be.

When there are hostile or reluctant participants – sometimes stakeholders might feel their needs are not articulated in the project, or the plans are not clear to them. When this happens, their resentment will manifest openly. Irritation majorly occurs when the project is to downsize its operations, and stakeholders fear losing their jobs. Among other common mistakes made when managing stakeholders.

  • Requirement documentation

In the Requirements Gathering Process, documentation records how the organization/business will meet the project’s requirement needs. Documentation codifies information in the form of user events and specifications to ensure they are accessible for execution.

Documentation also ensures all the projects’ requirements are captured to meet the expectations of the stakeholders.

Moreover, it enhances the understanding of the desired results of the final product. Also, it helps managers plan the possible ways to implement quality control for the project. Finally, documented requirements will act as future references when gathering needs arises again.

 Who are the stakeholders involved in the requirement gathering process? 

Stakeholders are ‘organizations or individuals whose interests can positively or negatively impact due to project execution. Also, they are parties with interest in a company.

In other words, they are people and groups that have something to gain or lose in any project execution outcome.

Stakeholders are categorized into two, internal and external stakeholders.

Internal are people within the organization. Included are managers, team members, and executives.

External stakeholders in the Requirements Gathering Process may not have a direct relationship with the business/organization. They may include a list of customers, users, vendors, outsourced IT staff, suppliers, and investors. Stakeholders can employ different techniques in the gathering of requirements.

What techniques are used to gather requirements? 

Depending on the nature of a project, stakeholders can employ different techniques in the elicitation of requirements. Included are;

Brainstorming, interviews, observation, survey/questionnaire, document analysis, workshops, using case and scenario, among others.

     a) Brainstorming

This is a group technique of gathering ideas spontaneously from members involved. It’s a fundamental technique for unleashing creativity among stakeholders and finding solutions by sharing thoughts and perceptions.

Walt Disney once said in his leadership lessons, ‘you can design and create, and build, the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality. Therefore, organizations and managers have to rely on the support systems and the stakeholders’ generated ideas for any effective gathering process.

For effective group brainstorming, group managers must prepare his team. Choose a conducive environment where members feel comfortable in sharing without being judged. Also, he/she must present the problem, guide the discussion to find the right outcome of ideas.

     b) Interviews

Interviewing users and stakeholders is critical for the significant Requirements Gathering Process. Managers can arrange for one on one interviews with the stakeholders or have a group interview.

One on one contact with users provides the primary source of requirement. It’s also an essential way of gathering validated requirements. For the interviews, the analysts must ensure they ask open-ended questions as well as closed-ended questions.

Open-ended questions ensure valuable details based on various individuals and how they interact and view the system, product, or service. Close-ended items will be handy, especially when the analysts are looking for specific answers.

Interviewing candidate for validated requirements.

     c) Questionnaire/surveys

Are suitable when a business/organizations have a more comprehensive range of stakeholders to be consulted; or whose inputs will be needed. Surveys would be the best method to employ.

It will allow the analyst to collect information from many people within a relatively short time, irrespective of their geographical location. It also guarantees accurate recording of responses and can be done online or on paper. Questionnaires leave no room for interpretations of ideas that can get lost during translation since all questions are organized with the project’s objective.

     d) Analyzing the existing documents

This involves the process of reviewing the documentation of a current system. It helps identify the driving force as volumes of information are often buried in any business/organization’s existing documents.

In reviewing the current state of activities, analysts will understand the system and its current situation. Studying the previous information on the system will provide a list of activities, titles, and stakeholders involved in the last scene. This will surely give a reference point in case of any outcome.

Also, analyzing existing documents can be used as a base for future analysis if required again. Moreover, records will be used in comparing the current and future processes.

Analysts will know what questions to ask in interviews or questionnaires to provide them with more additional information on requirements.

Major drawbacks may include;

Some of the requirements may be outdated and sometimes very time-consuming, depending on the organization’s size. When an organization interacts with many facets, it’s sure it will have a large volume of information to be reviewed.

Existing documents may not be up to date and sometimes wholly outdated.

Additionally, the resources used on the existing gathering documents may not be available in the current situation to provide the information needed.

     e) User observation

To better understand a user in their work environment, it’s better to observe them operate. By following, one will identify a process, flow of events, and pain points for improvement in the next system’s operations.

User observation may be active or perceive. Perceive observation is watching without acting, while active word involves asking questions while observing. It’s more useful for a better understanding of the process.

     f) Joint Application Design (JAD) 

This is a more contemporary technique of the Requirement Gathering Process. This technique is designed with one primary goal to set everything right the first time to reduce iterations.

The technique uses most stakeholders with different group dynamics to depict users’ views on the organizations’ wants to find a standard solution for all stakeholders. The user involvement ensures there is the elimination of frustrations over the system development procedures.

JAD offers a team-oriented approach that emphasizes consensus and partnership. It incorporates facilitated workshops and combines both business and technology needs. The needs must be consistent, repeatable, and effective in solving a problem.

Some other benefits of JAD include;

It clarifies requirements on consensus hence consolidating months of work into a structured workshop.

It helps identify an issue and provide a party responsible for solving those issues by building stakeholders’ commitment. It also creates a sense of belonging where every stakeholder feels responsible, resulting in a cohesive team hence user satisfaction.

 What makes reasonable requirements? 

Requirements are characterized as follows;


A fair Requirements Gathering Process must generate a shared understanding across the shareholders, customers, or users. Any conflicting views would lead to great disappointments.

They should be grammatically correct and well written in a consistent style. In its consistency, there should not be any conflict of interest in the requirement used. Variances may be direct or indirect, depending on the nature of the task handled.

Conflict of interest occurs directly when different behaviors are expected from the same situation.  And indirect competition happens when requirements do not agree on the same functionality. However, it is possible to fulfill both conditions at the same time.


Analysts must be able to verify whether the requirements to be implemented are correct. To be tested, the requirements must be clear, unambiguous, precise, and contain facts.

A practical requirement must not be based on speculations but rather on the users’ actual wants, wishes, or needs. At the end of the implementation, the inspection, demonstration, and analysis should show that the requirements have met the intended final solution.


Requirements define the project; therefore, requirements must prove possible and doable within any existing constraints like limited time, money, and available resources.

For any system to fully achieve its laid goals and objectives, the needs and wants to be specified must be attainable or achievable.

Any poorly written requirement with unrealistic information would result in poor project execution and performance. For instance, in situations where there are delays in decision making upon the preferred systems and implementation procedures to be used, the implementation would not occur within the required time.

 Design free

The requirements must allow design freedom. It should indicate the context as to who the feature belongs to and what they are trying to accomplish. Additionally, they must not contain unnecessary design or any unnecessary implementation information.

 Cohesive and complete

The requirements should represent all the stakeholders’ ideas and express or determine the gaps between the conditions.

The overlap and gaps must be resolved with missing requirements identified using the Relationship matrix. It will effectively help identify any stakeholder involved in the project’s execution. And whose needs still not appearing in the list.

A complete requirement should describe the necessary behavior and functionality that results in the stakeholders’ wishes and wants being met.

 Current and Modifiable

A reasonable requirement must be up-to-date. Additionally, it must reflect current knowledge and skills on the project status.

Requirements should be able to be changed without modifying other related conditions. However, in any modification, the original requirements should be located through the search facility where text and properties can easily be changed when another need arises.

 What are the categories of requirements? 

The requirements can be categorized into three major groups: functional, non-functional, and technical or system based. The understanding requirement will enable one to understand behaviors or any system described by the procedure’s task.

  • Functional Requirements

These are the basic system behaviors. In simple terms, they are what a system must do/not do. Functional requirements usually define the actions of any company. Include are the calculations, data input, and processes involved in achieving a want /need.

They also describe the company/organization’s interactions with its environment specifying the inputs, outputs, external interfaces, and all the functions that should be done by the company.

The requirements included are the services provided, with specified procedures to adhere to particular behaviors/situations. Functional requirements allow any system to function as intended.

In other words, in case the requirements are not met, the system will not operate as usual. They can also be product features that focus on user requirements.

The requirements must be consistent and complete, meaning they must be identified or defined. Being consistent implies that all the functional requirements should be precise and without contradictory definitions.

  • Non-Functional Requirements

As functional requirements define what the system must do or must not do, non-functional requirements specify and elaborate on how the system should do what is expected of them.

The non-functional requirements also define constraints or restrictions that affect how systems should do the expectant and help keep functional requirements in line. They entail the attitudes that make a product/service affordable, accessible, and easy to use, among other attributes.

It should be noted that non-functional requirements do not affect the functionality of any system. And in cases where they are not met, the system can still perform the essential purposes it was meant to do.

You may be wondering now that a system can perform without the non-functional requirements, why use them?

The answer is simple: non-functional requirements are essential in any system because of their usability. As mentioned above, they define system behaviors, features, and general characteristics that would affect user experiences of the products or services offered. They majorly product properties that focus on user expectations.

Some of the non-functional requirements categories are as follows;

Product/service requirements – which specifies how product/service performs. They include;

Usability– answers how well or easy it is to use the product/service offered and what defines the experience of using the service or the product.

Efficiency – Describe the extent to which the user will make optimal use of the product/service or the resource provided. Answers how faster the product is as compared to the existing product.

Reliability – Describes the critical/acceptable failure rate of the product/service under normal user usage. Answers the conditions in which a resource can operate best.

Manageability and maintainability– answer how much time it takes to fix a component and how easy it manages the system.

Scalability –states to what workload extend the system can still operate as expected. Whether or not the system would be able to handle the growing needs and wants.

  • Technical or system based requirements

Technical requirements are the technical issues that are to be considered a successful project completion. They include performance, availability, and reliability that a system must meet to proceed with the project.

However, in software projects, the technical requirement would refer to how software is built, such as what language they are programmed in or what operating system they are using. Also, what standards they must meet.

Importance of Requirement Gathering Process

An effective Requirement Gathering Process will result in the following benefits;

Fewer defect – With a consolidated requirement gathering process, there will be fewer blemishes on the delivered service/product. For instance, in situations where users’ views are incorporated in the process, it would seem impossible for a product to result in more defects.

Reduced project chaos – Different people have different needs or wants to be satisfied. However, with a well-structured Requirement Gathering Process, where all the stakeholders are consulted, and their ideas or views featured, it will lure less chaos.

Enhances higher user satisfaction rate – Any projects’ real test of success or failure would be users satisfaction. Therefore, the analysts must ensure that the product’s quality is up to the stakeholders’ standards during the Requirement Gathering Process. If it does not meet their standards, it means no matter how efficient the project was conducted; it has failed.

Boost project scheduling – Immediately after the gathering process is done, the analyst would plan to execute the project, knowing the right direction and approach to give the project. For instance, having involved customers’ views on a product, analysts will identify when the service/product is much needed or off-peak.

Easy articulation of business/organizational problems –Using the requirement documentations, they will serve as the point of reference for analysts to better understand a project’s evolution. Errors that might have been made in the previous gathering will be easily identified.

Additionally, an effective Project gathering process guides a collaborated design and decision-making processes towards a correct solution to stakeholders’ wishes, wants, or needs.

Other benefits include;

Requirement Gathering Process provides a blueprint for understanding stakeholders’ expectations out of the project. Since they share their point of view, it means they give their honest expectations.

Effective and efficient requirement gathering process will result to;

Less or fewer development rework on a project

with a lessor or no new features and low operations costs.

Good products/services with a useful feature set. And many more benefits.


Assessing and recovering a failing project will be a discouraging task for any system that might have had all resources needed for better performance results. Therefore, to avoid failure, a business’s/organizations must ensure they define and lay down better and up to standard requirements.

Requirements that are understandable, realistic, verifiable, design free, modifiable, current, and ultimately relate to the stakeholder’s wishes or wants. This is the key to any project’s success. It conducts a resourceful, in-depth Requirements Gathering Process, which ensures companies can compete in the highly growing markets of wishes, wants, or needs of their stakeholders.