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eliciting information from a person or group of people in an informal or
formal setting by asking relevant questions and recording the responses.
An interview is a systematic approach designed to elicit business analysis
information from a person or group of people by talking to the
asking relevant questions, and documenting the
responses. The interview can also be used for establishing relationships and
building trust between business analysts
and stakeholders in order to
increase stakeholder involvement or build support for a proposed solution.
The interview is a common technique for eliciting requirements. It
involves direct communication with individuals or groups of people who are
part of an
initiative. In an interview, the interviewer directs
questions to stakeholders in order to obtain information. One-on-one
interviews are the most common.
In a group interview (with more
than one interviewee in attendance), the interviewer is careful to elicit
responses from each participant.
There are two basic types of interviews
used to elicit business analysis information: • Structured Interview: in
which the interviewer has a predefined set of questions.
Unstructured Interview: in which the interviewer does not have a
predetermined format or order of questions. Questions may vary based on
interviewee responses and interactions.
depends on factors such as: • level of understanding of the domain by the
• experience of the interviewer in conducting interviews, •
skill of the interviewer in documenting discussions,
• readiness of the
interviewee to provide the relevant information and the interviewer to
conduct the interview,
• degree of clarity in the interviewee’s mind
about the goal of the interview, and • rapport of the interviewer with the
.1 Interview Goal When planning interviews, business
analysts consider: • the overall purpose of performing a set of interviews,
based on a business need, and • the individual goals for each interview,
based on what the interviewee can provide. The goals are to be clearly
expressed and communicated to each interviewee. .
Interviewees Potential interviewees are identified with the help of the
project manager, project sponsors, and other stakeholders, based on the
goals for the interview. .
3 Interview Questions Interview questions are
designed according to the interview goals, such as: • collecting data, •
researching the stakeholder’s view of the change or proposed solution, •
developing a proposed solution, or • building rapport with or support for
the proposed solution from the interviewee.
Open-ended questions are
used to elicit a dialogue or series of steps and cannot be answered in a yes
or no fashion.
Open-ended questions are a good tool to allow the
interviewee to provide information of which the interviewer may be unaware.
Closed questions are used to elicit a single response such as yes, no,
or a specific number.
Closed questions can be used to clarify or confirm
a previous answer.
The interview questions are often organized based on
priority and significance.
Examples of question order include general to
specific, start to finish, and detailed to summary.
Questions can also
be organized based on factors such as the interviewee's level of knowledge
and the subject of the interview.
Ensuring a successful interview requires attention to logistics that
• The location for the interview. The interview is adapted to
the schedule and availability of the interviewee and the mode of
communication (in-person, phone, or online conferencing).
• Whether or
not to record the interview, which may require the use of a scribe.
Whether or not to send the questions to the interviewees in advance. Sending
questions in advance is advisable only when the interviewee needs to collect
information to prepare for the interview.
• Whether the interview
results will be confidential and, if so, how the results will be summarized
to avoid identifying individual interviewees.
Opening the interview
includes: • describing the purpose of the interview, including why the
interviewees' time is needed,
• confirming the interviewees' roles and
addressing any initial concerns raised by the interviewees, and
explaining how information from the interview will be recorded and shared
with the interviewees and other stakeholders during the project. During the
interview, the interviewer:
• maintains focus on the established goals
and predefined questions, and adapts based upon the information provided and
non-verbal communication from the interviewees,
• considers both the
willingness of the interviewees to participate in the interview and to
provide the required information,
• considers that several meetings
might be required to conduct the entire interview,
• manages concerns
raised by the interviewees by addressing them during the interview or
documenting them for follow-up,
Closing the interview includes: •
asking the interviewees for areas that may have been overlooked in the
• providing contact information for the interviewees to follow
up with additional information after the meeting as needed,
summarizing the session, • outlining the process for how the interview
results will be used, and
• thanking the interviewees for their time.
It is important for the interviewer to organize the information and confirm
results with the interviewees as soon as possible after the interview.
Sharing the information that has been learned allows the interviewees to
point out any missed or incorrectly recorded items.
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