Information Gathering Methods

In order to determine the requirements of a system, information must be gathered from the customer.  Ideally, the information obtained will enable a well defined, accurate, and complete description of how the business functions as well as the people, functions and data involved.  However, this is not always the case, and information is often misinterpreted or omitted entirely.

There are many techniques that can be employed when gathering information. The type of information you are trying to obtain, as well as the people providing the information, will determine which techniques you should use.

Traditional Methods of Gathering Information

Traditional methods of gathering information include:

  • Interviews
  • Questioning
  • Questionnaires
  • Observation
  • Study of existing organizational documents, forms and reports

Traditional methods are often used when the overall objective is clear and requirements are well defined.  In addition, methods such as questioning and interviewing are generally regarded as “the only choice” for particular phases such as the initial contact.

Modern Methods of Gathering Information

Modern methods of gathering information include:

Modern methods are often used when the requirements and objectives are not clearly understood.  Modern methods of gathering information require a greater effort, but often the results are much faster and more accurate than those gathered by traditional methods.