Requirements questionnaire

This is a guide to questions you can use to work with stakeholders in your organisation when gathering systems requirements.
How to ask the right questions when gathering systems requirements

Preliminary analysis

Before you start out on the process of acquiring a new system, it’s worth doing some preliminary analysis. Working with the key stakeholders, formulate responses to the following questions. 

Questions for the preliminary analysis phase

  • Why do you/we need this new system? 
  • What is your/our current state? 
  • What are your/our areas of improvements? 
  • Who are your/our important people in relation to this acquisition? 
    • internal stakeholders
    • external stakeholders
    • project sponsor (e.g. leadership or board member)
    • project/user teams
  • What is in scope, what is out of scope? 
  • Is there funding for this? 

Requirements analysis

Download our requirements analysis spreadsheet. You can use this checklist to interview individuals or facilitate workshops, adapting it as necessary to review a range of systems to identify which systems best meet your needs.

This template identifies the general requirements of any system and will help you organise your team’s thoughts. Remove anything that is out-of-scope so that your team can focus only on the necessary areas. Stakeholder workshops will support the gathering of this information.

You can use this checklist to interview individuals or facilitate workshops. You don’t need to ask to all questions of everyone but it’s useful to keep a record of who was asked what.

Facilitate stakeholder workshops

Stakeholder workshops include all or a selection of the stakeholders you’ve already identified. Workshops provide space and time together to gather stakeholders’ thoughts and needs, based on the template.. Depending on the number of stakeholders, this part of the process can take between a couple of days for very small organisations, up to a month for medium and larger organisations. 

Questions for stakeholder workshops

Current state service process specifics 

This section assesses the current state of a service process in your organization.

  • What is the purpose of this process? Why is this process important? What service objective does this process meet? 
  • What triggers this process to start? 
  • Who is responsible for performing this process? 
  • How does this process work today?
  • What is the end result or output of this process? 
  • Is there a system that supports this process today? 
  • If there is a system, are you able to show me how this system works? 
  • If there is a system, are you able to give me some screen shots from this system? 
  • If there is a system, are you able to provide the user guide for this system? 

Identify problems/opportunities for improvement 

  • Which areas of this process can be improved? 
  • Is this a problem area? If so, why is this a problem area? 
  • What do you believe will help address this problem? 
  • What else do you think can help address this problem? 

Reports 

Do you currently have any existing operational reports that help you manage this service or team? 

  • If yes: 
    • Are you able to tell us about your most important reports? 
    • Which systems produce your reports for you? 
    • How often to you receive these reports? 
    • Are you able to share some examples of these reports with me/us? 
  • If no: 
    • Tell us about some of your reporting requirements. What would you really like to see produced as a report? Why? 
  • Discuss the content, frequency, audience and layout of the report at a high level. 

Key interactions 

  • Explain how the various user groups and elements of the system will interact, including any integration with external data or systems. Often a diagram is very helpful here. Remember to consult with all users indicated in this process to ensure that you have an understanding of all user requirements. 
    • Example: Show how ACC activities are assigned to clients by staff, how the service manager runs a standard set of reports, and how the accountant can export data to the accounting package in order to bill ACC. ACC has secure access to the system to view specific reports on the progress of their clients. 
    • Example: show how a supporter might interact with each domain – fundraising, volunteer and email marketing.

Future Requirements 

For discussion with organisation CEO, general manager and/or board.

  • What is the strategy for your organisation across 5/10 years? 
  • Are there considerations that need to be taken into account? 

Test requirements to identify gaps 

Distribute and confirm final requirements with all stakeholders. If additions are made, this needs to be confirmed by the project sponsor & project team to reduce scope creep or increasing costs.  

Next steps

Now that requirements are collated and approved by stakeholders, you can go to market to research systems and providers that can meet your needs.

Applying what you have learned

Below are some files and external links that can help you take action on what you read.

Assets you can download
Requirements Spreadsheet Template

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