Below is a list of questions that I use to help trigger discussion with your stakeholders to uncover issues and pain points, which in turns helps me elicit requirements.
I use these questions when I have a mapped the current process and have a fair understanding of the current state. As an outcome of identifying the pain points I then usually run a brainstorming session with my stakeholders to generate ideas to overcome those issues.
I base my questions on the 8 lean wastes: DOWNTIME.
Here is an explanation of DOWNTIME:
- Defects: errors caused by rework, scrap, and incorrect information
- Overproduction: production that is more than needed or before it is needed
- Waiting: wasted time waiting for the next step in the process
- Non-utilised talent: underutilising people’s talent, skills and knowledge
- Transportation: unnecessary movements of products and materials
- Inventory: excess products and materials not being processed
- Motion: unnecessary movements by people
- Extra-processing: more work or higher quality than is required by the customer.
And here are the types of questions I use based on DOWNTIME and some of my own thinking:
- Are there any times where time or resources are wasted?
- Are there any times when nothing is happening?
- Are there any times when you are waiting for information?
- Are there any times when delays create issues?
- Are there any bottlenecks – where the volume of work is causing delays?
- Is there anything that could be done earlier?
- Are there any checking or review steps that are not clearly adding value?
- Are there any unnecessary exchanges between people or parties that are not clearly adding
- Are there any areas where activities are being duplicated?
- Is there any unnecessary movement of information or files?
- Are there any times where movement of people or resources is clearly a waste?
- Can any steps be done in parallel instead of sequentially?
- Is any step done (or something created) so early in the process that sometimes it may not
ever be needed?
- Are there any activities that produce errors (and rework) or something that would be
deemed as unacceptable by any stakeholder?
- Are there any issues that would affect the value or quality of your work?
- Is there a risk of overburdening or stressing the people, equipment or system?
- Is there a risk of disengagement of people? Where and when?
- Are there any other issues?
You can use these questions after you have bedded down the current state.