Achieving consensus in business requirements elicitation meetings


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An presentation about achieving consensus from stakeholders during business requirements elicitation meetings.

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Achieving consensus in business requirements elicitation meetings

  1. 1. Achieving Consensus in Business RequirementsElicitation MeetingsCopyright (c) 2010-2013 Pragmatic CohesionConsulting1Making sure that you define the Right Problem before attempting to resolve it
  2. 2. Achieving Consensus on and Quality ofBusiness Requirements• The quality of Business Requirements has afundamental influence on a project’s ability toproperly control the entire engineering process.• Changes to Business Requirements impactproject plans, activities, and work products.• Achieving consensus on and high quality ofBusiness Requirements early in the SDLC greatlyreduces the probability of making disruptivechanges to engineering process activities inresponse to inaccurate, incomplete, ambiguous,or conflicting Business Requirements.Copyright (c) 2010-2013 Pragmatic CohesionConsulting2
  3. 3. Business Requirements ElicitationSessions• Business Requirements Elicitation Sessions areaimed at leading a group into discovering anddocumenting Business Requirements that are:accurate, complete (or very close to),unambiguous, and consistent.• Success factors for such sessions depend on:– Including the right participants– Properly managing conflict among participants duringthe session– Properly capturing and communicating the decisionsmade during the sessionCopyright (c) 2010-2013 Pragmatic CohesionConsulting3
  4. 4. Conflicts in Requirements ElicitationMeetings• Conflict naturally arise from the followingpredispositions of meeting participants [H.Kurstedt, 2000]:– Different backgrounds– Different personalities– Different goals– Different opinions– Different expectations• Some meeting participants may not be aware ofthe existence of a conflict unless it is explicitlyaddressed and properly managedCopyright (c) 2010-2013 Pragmatic CohesionConsulting4
  5. 5. Conflicts in Requirements ElicitationMeetings• Mismanaged conflict can induce the followingin meeting participants [H. Kurstedt, 2000]:– Reduce tolerance among group members– Reduce commitment or support to final decisions– Reduce trust among group members– Reduce the amount of information shared amonggroup members– Reduce the quality of the group decisionCopyright (c) 2010-2013 Pragmatic CohesionConsulting5
  6. 6. Conflict Resolution Styles [H. Kurstedt, 2000]Common EnglishPhraseConflict ResolutionStyleExamples“Leave well enoughalone”Avoidance -Diffusion-Resignation-Cover-up-Isolation-Withdrawal-Indifference-Refusal“Kill your enemies withkindness”Accommodation -Giving in-Smoothing“Split the difference” Compromise -Negotiation-Arbitration“Two heads are betterthan one”Collaboration -Logical reasoning-Cooperation“Might makes right” Competition -Fighting-Forcing-Overpowering-ConfrontingOur PreferenceUse onlywhen neededCopyright (c) 2010-2013 Pragmatic CohesionConsulting6
  7. 7. Conflict Resolution Strategy by typesof situation [H. Kurstedt, 2000]Social Conflict(irrational,emotional)Task Conflict (rational,logical, factual)Competitive ConflictResolution-For emergencies-When unpopular actionsneed to be implemented-To protect yourself fromother taking advantage ofnon competitive behaviorCollaborative ConflictResolution-To reducehostility betweengroups-To refocus thegroup on the taskagain-When meeting purpose iscomplex-To gain commitment-To Increase critical thinking-To Increase strength ofconsensus-To Increase decision qualityCopyright (c) 2010-2013 Pragmatic CohesionConsulting7
  8. 8. Collaborative Conflict Management• Collaborative conflict management is bestwhen:– There is sufficient time for making decisions– Information can be shared in a non-threateningenvironment• Collaborative conflict management allows:– Producing a shared understanding of information– A high degree of group satisfaction– Win/win situationsCopyright (c) 2010-2013 Pragmatic CohesionConsulting8
  9. 9. Steps to Strong Consensus and HighDecision Quality [H. Kurstedt, 2000]:• 1 -Inform group members prior to meeting that theyare expected to collaborate• 2-Plan informal ice-breakers before consensus meetingstarts• 3-Use structured conflict techniques• 4-Establish an incentive structure (reward forcollaborating)• 5-Anticipate social conflicts and quickly resolve them• 6-Make provision for sufficient meeting time to focuson task conflictCopyright (c) 2010-2013 Pragmatic CohesionConsulting9
  10. 10. Hall’s Consensus Guidelines• “Avoid arguing for your own rankings. Presentyour position as lucidly and logically aspossible, but listen to the other member’sreactions and consider them carefully beforeyou press your point.”Copyright (c) 2010-2013 Pragmatic CohesionConsulting10
  11. 11. Hall’s Consensus Guidelines• “Do not assume that someone must losewhen the discussion reaches a stalemate.Instead, look for the next-most-acceptablealternative for all parties.”Copyright (c) 2010-2013 Pragmatic CohesionConsulting11
  12. 12. Hall’s Consensus Guidelines• “Do not change your mind simply to avoidconflict and reach agreement and harmony.When agreement seems to come too quicklyand easily, be suspicious. Explore the reasonsand be sure everyone accepts the solution forbasically similar or complementary reasons.Yield only to positions that have objective andlogically sound foundations.”Copyright (c) 2010-2013 Pragmatic CohesionConsulting12
  13. 13. Hall’s Consensus Guidelines• “Avoid conflict-reducing techniques such asmajority vote, averages, coin flips, andbargaining. When a dissenting member finallyagrees, don’t feel that he or she must berewarded by having his or her own way onsome later point.”Copyright (c) 2010-2013 Pragmatic CohesionConsulting13
  14. 14. Hall’s Consensus Guidelines• “Differences of opinions are natural andexpected. Seek them out and try to involveeveryone in the decision process.Disagreements can help the group’s decisionbecause, with a wide range of information andopinions, there is a greater chance that thegroup will hit upon more adequate solutions.”Copyright (c) 2010-2013 Pragmatic CohesionConsulting14
  15. 15. Copyright (c) 2010-2013 Pragmatic CohesionConsulting15Contact Didier at Pragmatic Cohesion Consulting to conducteffective Business Requirements Elicitation meetings usingIndustry’s Best Practices