Client requirements: Finding boundaries, constraints, and the shape of the elephant

By Gordon Rugg

This article is one in a series about the problem of identifying and clarifying client requirements, using the ongoing semi-humorous example of a client’s requirement for an image of an elephant. This episode looks at ways of establishing the key issues in the client’s requirements when you’re trying to trade off costs against risks.

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Reports: A brief overview

By Gordon Rugg

This article is about a range of techniques which involve people reporting on actions, thoughts or rationale. It’s not about writing technical reports, etc.

These techniques evolved independently, rather than as a systematic toolbox. However, in practice they complement each other neatly. The table below shows how they fit together.

Time Technique(s) Main knowledge issues involved
Future Scenarios Knowing the unknowable
Present Think-aloud Short Term Memory/working memory
Past
  • Critical Incident Technique
  • Hard Case Technique
Active and passive biases in human memory

This article describes how these techniques can be used systematically to identify and clarify clients’ requirements, with particular reference to legal and practical constraints.

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