What role might usability people play in requirements elicitation?
- I'm curious how usability people might answer this question.
I believe pulling interaction designers in very early has a profound
effect on the software we choose to write. I've used Constantine &
Lockwood's modeling techniques as requirements elecitation
techniques for a while with good success. The conversation had
while collaboratively modeling is valuable. The resulting
functionality we put into scope is usually more comprehensive. I
rarely have new "requirements" coming out of left field. I've often
believed that terms like "scope-creep" are another way of saying "we
hadn't thought about it till now." Interaction design techniques
force "thinking about it" - and, at least for me, in ways that more
directly effect what software we choose to write - what our stories
are, what goes in our backlog, choose your terminology.
I'm hearing Lynn from Alias [who writes very cool commercially
successful software] report that the usability person fills, more or
less, the customer role. I'd be curious to hear, at a 10,000 foot
level, what's gone through to determine what "requirements" are.
I know there are usability folks that contend with requirements
thrown over the wall, then find themselves in the sad place of
informing stakeholders of the gaps they find. Is this true, or am I
speculating? If it is, can you suggest what you wished might have
I know that folks like Arlen, Thyra, and Gary have some success at
early involvement during requiremnts. Any advice you could could
would be helpful. What specific techniques activities did you
engage in? What were the results.
- Hi Alistair,
> I find "why?" an unpleasant question to answer when I'm askedI often use a form that I call The Value Question: "If you had
> it, especially when asked it multiple times in an insistent
> fashion. So I prefer to ask it in longer, synonym form, of
> which there are many. Here are a couple
> "what problem would that be addressing? "...in order to
> accomplish what?
that, what would that do for you?"
Sometimes I use a longer form: "If you had that, what would that
do for you that's even more important?"
I sometimes use The Value Question to understand the problem
behind the problem, as here:
I also use The Value Question in lots of other ways to understand
people's value hierarchies (including my own):
Dale Emery, Consultant
Collaborative Leadership for Software People
Lighthouses don't go running all over an island looking for boats
to save; they just stand there, shining. --Anne Lamott