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Business Analyst Elicitation Tip: Recreate the Context to Retrieve Information

Requirements ElicitationThis software requirements elicitation tip is for every business analyst who’s needed to nudge someone’s memory during elicitation.

The other day one of my customers asked “Did you do that thing that someone was going to ask you to do?” Since no one had asked me to take on a new task, I was a bit flummoxed. When asked for more details, the customer said, “I don’t remember.” 

My next attempt: “Can you remember the context of the discussion, were you in a certain room or meeting…?” This elicited a very surprised positive result, with the customer saying, “Yes, I was in the daily management meeting, I don’t remember what it was, but John was supposed to ask you to do it, check with him.” After following up with John, and prodding him that the elusive task had been discussed in the management meeting, I was able to determine what the task was and complete it.

When you or someone you are talking to is trying to remember information, recreating the context in which the information was created can help retrieve the information.

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