Requirements Interview Checklist


Quick Summary
Screenshot A requirements interview is a focused interview with a key stakeholder or subject matter expert designed to elicit a specific set of requirements. This checklist is organized into sets of questions you should consider for each interview; important preparation that will increase your credibility and help you make the most of your time with these key resources.


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What this is

A checklist of the key components of a successful requirements interview, so you can be sure your interviews go as smoothly as possible. It provides tips to help you think through the critical success factors required to make the most of everyone's time.


Why it's useful

Finding time with our business stakeholders can be tough to do, so you'll want to make the most of your time together, and planning ahead is the only way to ensure that. You have a better shot of ensuring high quality requirements if your business partners and stakeholders feel like you value their input and that their time is being put to good use.


How to use it

  1. Define what you are trying to accomplish with the interviews. How will you know you've been successful? A good place to start is with the project scope and objectives, or the problem statement that kicked things off, if one exists. Draft a list of the information you think you need to collect. Then get input from the project manager, sponsor, business lead, and development community to make sure that the list is clear, complete, and agreed upon.
  2. Decide who you will be interviewing and why. Make a list of the people you need to speak to, and your unique goals for each interview. This will help you organize your time and your questions. Start by reviewing the business process or functions the project will touch, then review the Stakeholder Analysis to see who represents those areas. Consult with the stakeholders and the sponsor for input on additional candidates for your interviewee list.
  3. Schedule the interviews. You may need to schedule several days or even a couple of weeks in advance, so be sure to do this early. Even if you don't have the details down yet, it's a good idea to block time on peoples' calendars so you're sure to get their time and attention when it counts.
  4. Define and refine the details. Use this checklist to help you organize and complete your planning activities for the interviews. Ideally, you should allow about twice as much planning time as interview time. Most interviews take one to two hours, so it's safe to assume you'll need two to four hours to prepare. When conducting a series of interviews you'll probably be able to cut down on the preparation time for each, due to economies of scale.
  5. Conduct the interviews.
  6. Follow up. Once you've completed the interviews, compile your information in an organized way so you can understand the true requirements. When in doubt, ask follow-up questions to make sure you've correctly understood the requirements.
About the Author

Sinikka L. Waugh, PMP, is the founder and head coach of Your Clear Next Step, L.L.C. Sinikka is an actively practicing project management consultant, known for consistently helping teams find innovative ways to leverage effective project strategies across multiple disciplines and technologies. With over 10 years in project roles (primarily program manager, project manager, and business analyst) Sinikka has successfully applied project and leadership expertise to improve project performance in a wide variety of industries, including publishing, education, product fulfillment and distribution, insurance, event and travel management, human resources, and financial services. As a coach, Sinikka's down-to-earth, "try this now" approach blends with her passion for helping others improve. Her energetic and engaging style helps make both the art and science of project management accessible to those she works with. Sinikka holds a BA from Central College, an MA from the University of Iowa, and is a certified Project Management Professional through the Project Management Institute.


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