The requirements gathering process for integration projects is a complex task of identifying and documenting all the capabilities, specifications, and every decision taken to complete a project.
This process begins prior to the project. The team gets to document every step taken in the project from the very beginning, be it the approval of the project charter, or the selection of a project sponsor.
However, some companies seem to be oblivious to the importance of this process. So it tends to be overlooked.
Justifiably, although still not an excuse, a firm may decide to ignore the process due to budget constraints or a strict timeline.
However, ignoring this all-important step in the project is a grave mistake. Without undertaking an information gathering process, the firm lacks a point of reference for all the steps carried out towards the completion of the project.
Why is this process so important? What can go wrong if you skip it?
Well, first of all, it will take longer to implement the integration properly. And you will not get to reap all its benefits. In other words: you don’t get the bang for your buck you should be getting.
Let’s take an in-depth look at this process and how to make it work for you, not against you.
The Requirements Gathering Process – the Basics
The requirements gathering process in the digital ecosystem may be functional or non-functional. The functional process focuses on product functionality.
This process concerns itself with the products functionality, capability, features, and usability. The requirements gathering documents here would be the Functional Requirements Documentation (FRD), and the Statement of Work (SOW).
The non-functional requirements gathering process encompasses all other factors not connected to a product’s functionality. The process explores factors such as performance, security, or technical specifications.
The requirements gathering process begins with the creation of the project. The team involved will have to gather the scope document along with other input documents such as process documentation and the service level agreements.
The other documents gathered include corporate documentation, for instance, the rules of engagement or documentation involving similar previous projects.
Obtaining all the relevant documents involved in the project helps the team in developing a framework of the firm’s internal and external digital ecosystem.
The data obtained through the documentation also serves as a blueprint for the stakeholders as they get an idea of what to expect from the project.
Data Volume in the Requirements Gathering Process
The requirements gathering process entails tracking and analyzing all the relevant data required for the project, such as the B2B or A2A transactions.
It is important for the team to be aware of the types/volume of data, as well as of the movement of this data in the firm.
This process is quite lengthy as the team captures all the data required for each data integration requirement as part of the larger integration requirement.
This step helps in exploring related systems and in determining the expected behavior of the processes connected to the project.
Examining the Business Processes
After determining the data patterns and flow, your team needs to explore the connection between business processes and data volumes.
This step entails exploring the data volumes for the purpose of determining efficiency or identifying bottlenecks that impede on real-time processing of data.
This will entail looking at the upstream and downstream capabilities of the proposed integration for the purpose of determining the impact of the proposed project on the existing processes. Your team will have to seek answers to questions such as:
- What are the business boundaries?>
- Is the integration part of a long-term running process that cuts across all departmental boundaries?
- Does the communications model in outbound data harness a single-threaded blocking framework?
All this requires a genuine understanding of the needs of the business, including its performance requirements, data volume, and the upstream/downstream processes.
In return, you will get integrations that work seamlessly and, more importantly, integrations that help you attain your business goals.