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Gather Data to Identify Business Requirements 3757e
Teacher: Tony Whittingham
National module: ICAITAD151A
Module/subject purpose:
This unit defines the competency required to identify, analyse and document the client requirements. Specifically, you should be able to:
1.  Identify the key information sources. 2.  Gather dat
a through formal processes.
3.  Ensure analysis is accurate and complete. 4.  Able to gain consensus.

Note: This subject is based on and uses resources from the national eCommerce toolbox, ICA50604, for the Diploma of Information Technology - Website Development.
The toolbox can be accessed at

Go to the 'Other Subjects' web site      Assessment Criteria         email Tony

Outcome 1


On completion, the learner should be able to identify the key information sources.
1.1 Information repositories are identified.
1.2 Reliable and current documentation obtained for review and analysis.
1.3 Critical questions are developed to elicit information from key stakeholders.
1.4 Methods for gathering data ensures a QA methodology and meets budgetary constraints.

Module 1

Introduction to Requirements Definition


Requirements definition simply means "figuring out what to make before you make it." In the ebusiness website development world, requirements definition enables you to make appropriate decisions about the functionality and design of an ebusiness website before you invest time and money developing it. By bridging the gap between the needs of the market and those of the client, requirements definition significantly reduces guesswork in website planning


Prepare a key point summary of each of the five areas in the requirements definition article supplied. The summary should demonstrate your high level design skills and innovative use of images and fonts.

Download an overview of the client's operations

'Collecting Data from Users' is an article written for website design but the techniques are applicable to data gathering for identifying business requirements. When reading this article substitute 'ebusiness' for 'site'.

Without a doubt, the most significant thing you can get wrong in running a web development is to mess up the requirements. Get this wrong, and every thing you do after that is doomed. Without the right effort in gathering, documenting, agreeing and keeping to requirements, you won't deliver the thing that the client wants.
Now that over two thirds of Australian businesses are using the Internet, the potential to increase productive capacity through additional efficiency gains is increasingly being realised. New examples are emerging of firms reaping benefits from deepening their involvement in eBusiness as the supporting technology and infrastructure develops.
The case studies at this site provide data on the ebusiness operations of a range of Australian companies : 

Invisible web searching – select 'Invisible Web: How Can You Search It'  

Invisible web resources  

An article on invisible web searching with a couple of good tools. 
Here is a summary of links to a range of information sources.....

a) Typical major search engines (Google, Alltheweb, Teoma, Wisenut.)
b) Directories (ODP, Yahoo)
c) Meta search tools (Copernic Meta, Vivissimo, Surfwax, Ixquick)
d) Data Visualization tools (Grokker, Kartoo, TouchGraph, Musicplasma)

'Feedster' is a search engine for finding information from weblogs (blogs) and RSS (real simple syndication) feeds...give it a try. 
This is a nicely written article on trends in Internet searching and some techniques that have become popular. It briefly compares different vendor offerings as well.

Module 2

Defining the Client's Problem and/or Opportunity


The very first stage in data gathering is the identification of the problem or opportunity. Once this is established, you will need to gather information to understand the problem and any constraints that may limit the solution. In order to implement data-gathering techniques you will need to identify one of the following: i)The problem that has to be solved, ii)The opportunity that has to be realised


Use the information from the class handout and the references below to write a high-level statement, for inclusion in your requirements report, that concisely captures your client’s (Bazaar Ceramics) problem (opportunity).


Transcripts from interviews with owner of Bazaar Ceramics:
First interview
Second interview

How to write a problem statement

Information needs assessment is the process of gaining an understanding of clients’ information use habits, preferences and perceptions, based on their direct feedback. Conducting a needs assessment can be an important component in supporting service planning decisions about whom to serve and what services are needed.
"Assessing Client's Needs"

Requirements Gathering: Lose Your Ego and Ask Away

One of the most difficult challenges in gathering information is turning the tacit knowledge of staff into explicit knowledge that can be shared with others. This is an excellent article introducing the concepts of knowledge management. 

'Gathering business requirements' article 

A series of steps for gathering and analysing information 


Outcome 2


On completion, learner should be able to gather data through formal processes.
2.1. Information gathering workshops and interviews meet company practices.
2.2. Facilitation processes maximise participant input and different points of view.
2.3. Questions are open ended and target critical information.
2.4. Business critical factors relating to current and future directions are confirmed with stake holders.
2.5. Group and individual responses are analysed and the business priorities are clearly defined.

Module 3

Question Preparation


The purpose of questioning is to elicit data or information that enables you to understand a problem or requirement from the respondent's point of view.

Regardless of whether you are implementing an interview, questionnaire or structured workshop, you need to consider carefully how you develop questions for stakeholders. Developing appropriate questions will determine the quality of the information you gather.


Using the class handouts:

i) Complete the "Interviewing SME's" Exercise
ii)Develop a thorough understanding of your client’s organization by reviewing the documentation in the information package.

iii)Obtain background information on the interviewees from their job descriptions and internal documentation.

iv)For each interviewee prepare an objective that summarises the key areas that you propose to explore and the information you hope to obtain.


The interview is the primary technique for information gathering during the analysis phases of a project.

A template for preparing for an information gathering interview

An article (pdf) describing the use of interviews, prototyping, workshops and questionnaires for gathering information.

An online lesson on interviewing and questionnaire - also illustrates the potential of Geocities for web site development 

After you complete the questionnaire, access the case studies and note their wide range of questions for use in interviews related to new technology.  

Module 4

Question Development and Interview Techniques.


Over the duration of a development project you will need to ask many questions to ascertain information in order to proceed with the project. You may use different questioning techniques in different situations and through different media. The primary aim of your interviews is to identify the requirements (needs) of all stakeholders. Following the interviews you will then prepare a summary of your data gathering and complete an analysis of the identified requirements. During the interview you may be collecting and analysing data at the same time. Often you ask a question that prompts a second or third question. In this situation you are attempting to clarify or classify the initial response received.

Prepare an interview sheet for each interviewee with the interview’s objective and questions to be asked. You should use both open and closed questions at low and higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy.

ii) In your allocated class team, alternately ‘play’ the roles of interviewer, interviewee and observer in an interview session using information from class handouts.

An excellent article on the application of Bloom's Taxonomy for question development with examples at all levels.

A book 'Interviewing Techniques for Managers' (not required for this subject)

Developing rapport in interviews

Module 5 Staff and Customer Questionnaires
There are different types of information you might want to learn from staff/customers that may have an impact on your requirements. For example;
attitude - how staff/customers think and feel about something
>> perception - the way staff/customers receive messages and interpret them
>> needs - not only what staff/customers need, but what they believe they need; also desires
>> decisions - both the choices staff/customers make, and how they make them.
Follow the class handout instructions to
gather data, using questionnaires, from external sources (staff and customers) to assist the identification of requirements for the client’s proposed website.
Although they are inexpensive and produce fast results, web surveys and questionnaires still require proper project planning for maximum effectiveness.
Variations in the alignment of input fields, their respective labels, calls to action, and their surrounding visual elements can support or impair different aspects of user behavior.

An article from Jakob Nielsen "Keep Online Surveys Short" 

Use Zoomerang to create your online surveys - Register for the free service 

Guidelines for creating online surveys

Seven steps to a successful web survey

An example of an online survey for a new product- adapt for new technology introduction 

Module 6

Identifying Requirements from Best Practices
A best practice is the process of finding ideas and strategies from outside the client’s business and using these practices to identify requirements to apply to the client’s project. These requirements often involve the application of new or emerging technologies and may not be identified from internal sources. They will usually be at the ‘excitement’ level of the Kano model.

Follow the class handout instructions to identify requirements from the best practices being adopted in websites relevant to the ebusiness products and services proposed by your client.


How to effectively borrow ideas, strategies and tactics:

Select the 'Best Practice Model and Tools for Business'

Process benchmarking

What is benchmarking?

Module 7

Identifying Requirements from Research


Many website projects are the result of the client’s increasing awareness of the importance of the Internet as a marketing and sales tool.  Many of their competitors and industry partners now have websites and the client has decided that in order not to be left behind, the company must develop or upgrade to an innovative web presence that will provide a competitive advantage.

'Workplace' Activity:
Refer to your class handout instructions on u
sing research to review a

range of new internet technologies and identify requirements that may

not have been identified by your internal data gathering methods.

Bloglines is a FREE online service for searching, subscribing, creating and

sharing news feeds

FLICKR is a free online photo management system. Upload your photos and

use FLICKR to create public and private sets of photos. 

Describes the four basic steps to creating a Podcast.* Write it,*

Record it,* Publish it,* Promote it.

Guidelines for creating short, organized shows that can help you get

started in podcasting and organize your podcasts into manageable chunks.


This tutorial will show you how to sign up and subscribe to blogs with

Bloglines. It includes how to subscribe to RSS feeds and Podcasts.


If you require more information about RSS feeds and Aggregators

then try this tutorial from CNET


Here are the winners of the '2005 Business Blogging Awards'. Study the

designs AND study the range of businesses using really is a huge

trend in online sales and marketing. An increasing number of websites are

being supported by 'companion blogs'.


Outcome 3


On completion, learner should be able to ensure analysis is accurate and complete.
3.1 Information and data analysis techniques are appropriate to the brief.
3.2 Information is analysed for accuracy and consistency.
3.3 Any conflicts in information and /or points of view are resolved.

Module 8 Requirements Analysis
Broadly speaking you will analyse data as you collect it, and/or once it has been collected. Data collected from several interviews and/or data collected from questionnaires need to be aggregated and collated into meaningful information. The analysis technique involves identifying similarities and disparities between data. At the conclusion of the first stage of analysis you should have a list of business requirements and you may be able to identify dependencies between requirements.
Use the information and methods above to complete an analysis of the requirements you have identified from internal and external sources.
Capability analysis can be used to assess whether a proposed website is statistically able to meet a set of specifications or requirements. To complete the calculations, a set of data is required, usually generated by a control chart; however, data can be collected specifically for this purpose.
Outcome 4

On completion, learner should be able to gain consensus.
4.1. Detailed documentation is prepared according to documentation standards and
     company templates.

4.2. Documentation is succinct and written in a style appropriate to the
4.3. Requirements are communicated to client and agreement secured.

Module 9

Gaining Concensus - Report and Presentation


The contents and degree of detail for a Requirements Report will vary depending on the size and

scope of a project, but a Requirements Report is generally an informal document that can be easily

understood by the customer.  Presentation skills aren't just for managers anymore.

They're necessary for every employee who wants to get a point across confidently, clearly,

and without nervousness, whether they're presenting a new idea ... selling a website concept

 ... or making a presentation before a client.

Class presentations of
the client's requirements reports.


This may be a digital world, but the written word remains the fundamental

tool of communication, and being able to write effectively and persuasively —

whether creating a business plan, feasibility report or website content

writing is a core skill.

Presentation of a business case 

This article provides links to a range of technologies for

supporting presentations.

A comprehensive article on how to make an effective presentation

A good presentation on designing PowerPoint slides

How to make a winning presentation - tips

Tell 'Em What You're Gonna Tell 'Em . . . 
Preparation of a feasibility report
Guidelines for citing information sources
Resources for documenting electronic sources of information

Develop the Bibliography and Appendix for your feasibility report.
NOTE. Use these feasibility report examples as a model for your project.

Example of a transmittal letter 

How to write a descriptive abstract 
Example of a table of contents 
Example of a list of figures

Grade Code:   72 
* This is a Category D assessment.
* Student Records requires a Class Mark only.
* The Class Mark is locally set and locally marked.
* Results are reported as DISTINCTION, CREDIT, PASS, FAIL.

DISTINCTION        >= 83
CREDIT                >= 70
PASS                   >= 50
All other cases FAIL

Assessment Events:
In addition to an overall pass in the module, students must pass each assessment
event where there is a "yes" in the "must pass" column.





 Must Pass



 1 - 6    



 Assessment Events' Comments:
The aim of this assessment is to enable you to demonstrate your ability to identify, analyse and document the client requirements.

Your project assessment may consist of several parts such as:
  - Practical work
  - Assignments
  - Observations
  - Tests

You should create a portfolio to  demonstrate your learning outcomes. You should also demonstrate your ability to facilitate and document a consensus point of view among stakeholders about the business requirements for a system based on the business strategy's current and future direction.

Your assessment should provide evidence that you are able to perform the
assessment criteria within each learning outcome.   This may include (but is not
limited to):
  - Identifying key information sources
  - Gathering data
  - Analysing data
  - Gaining consensus
  - Documenting requirements
Assessment may also include use of:
  - Project brief
  - Business documentation
Your project assessment may consist of several parts such as:
    · Practical work
    · Assignments
    · Observations
    · Tests





Feasibility Report

Development of a Business Requirements Feasibility Report

Discussion: The feasibility report studies a situation (for example, a problem or

opportunity) and a plan for doing something about it and then determines whether

that plan is "feasible"--which means determining whether it technologically possible

and whether it is practical (in terms of current technology, economics, social needs,

and so on). The feasibility report answers the question "Should we implement Plan X?"

by stating "yes," "no," but more often "maybe." Not only does it give a

recommendation, it also provides the data and the reasoning behind that


'Workplace' Activity:
Develop the 'Introduction' and the 'Body' for
your report. NOTE. Use the feasibility

report examples at as a

model for your project.


A checklist for writing a feasibility report
More information on feasibility reports

The report's introduction

The body of the report




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