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The Best of Service Design, Part 2


ITSM Requirement Gathering Techniques
Originally Published February 20, 2010

In a previous discussion, we talked about the three levels of requirements in Service Design: Functional, Usability and Management and Operational. There is a range of techniques that can be used to actually obtain these services requirements. It is often difficult to get your customers to verbalize what they need. It has been my experience that the customers and the business are not completely sure of what their requirements actually are. They will need assistance and prompting from the designer or requirements gatherer. This must be done in a professional and sensitive manner to ensure that it is not seen as IT dictating the business requirement. We are all familiar with the most popular techniques, interviewing and workshops.

The following is a list of additional techniques which might aid you in the Service Design requirements gathering stage:
  • Observation: Watch your customers perform a specific task
  • Protocol Analysis: Ask your users to describe each step as they perform it
  • Shadowing: Follow a user perform a task for a specific period
  • Scenario Analysis: Trace a task from the initial business trigger to its successful outcome
  • Prototyping: Show the users how the new service might work
  • Questionnaires Forms: Document perspectives from many people
  • Special Purpose Records: Allow users a way to record specific tasks
  • Activity Sampling: Track how user spend their time on tasks
To be successful in requirements gathering, using only one of these techniques often is not enough. You may need to use several of the techniques to get the complete story from your customers. Also knowing from whom you need to get this information is a critical success factor. Hopefully, using some of these techniques, targeted toward the correct audience will contribute to the production of a complete Service Design Package.

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