PMP Scope Management: 11 Tools and Techniques for Collecting Requirements

PMP Scope Management: 11 Tools and Techniques for Collecting Requirements

Finding a process in the PMBOK guide with 11 tools and techniques is like discovering a worm in your apple. Finding out that two of those 11 tools have nine sub-tools in total is like eating a worm. Don’t worry — we have a tactic to make the Collect Requirements phase of Scope Management much more palatable.

Before you get overwhelmed, the Collect Requirements phase of Scope Management is actually somewhat easy to understand. PMBOK defines it as “the process of determining, documenting, and managing stakeholder needs and requirements to meet project objectives” (110). Essentially, you are collecting all of the disparate information that you will need to meet your project’s goals. It makes sense, then, that you would want to get as much information in as many ways as possible.

Memorizing the tools and techniques for the Collect Requirements process of Scope Management may be tempting, but don’t do it. Instead, try this less time-intensive, more effective way.

All of the tools and techniques in Collect Requirements

Go through this list and write down all of the items you don’t immediately know or haven’t used.

– Interviews
– Focus Groups
– Facilitated Workshops, including:

  • Group Creativity Techniques
  • Brainstorming
  • Nominal group technique
  • Idea/mind mapping
  • Affinity diagram
  • Multicriteria decision analysis

– Group Decision-Making Techniques, including:

  • Unanimity (including the Delphi Technique)
  • Majority
  • Plurality
  • Dictatorship

– Questionnaires and Surveys
– Observations
– Prototypes
– Benchmarking
– Context Diagrams
– Document Analysis

Here are my focus areas from when I was studying the PMBOK guide:

  • Focus Groups vs. Facilitated Workshops (what the heck is the difference?)
  • Group Creativity Techniques – Nominal Group Technique
  • Group Creativity Techniques – Multi-criteria decision analysis (sounds pretty jargon-y to me!)
  • Context Diagrams

Isn’t that much more manageable?

Now, let’s look at what PMBOK tells us about each of these terms and come up with some ways to remember them.

Focus Groups vs. Facilitated Workshops – Focus groups bring together prequalified stakeholders to discuss requirements, while facilitated workshops may be key stakeholders from a number of different areas. The goal of a focus group is to encourage interaction of experts, while facilitated workshops aim to get stakeholders from different areas to understand others’ points-of-view. (PMBOK, 114).

Nominal Group Technique – I like to think of this technique as the same as brainstorming, but with voting. You probably have done this but haven’t called it the nominal group technique because it takes too long to say. PMBOK says that the nominal group technique “enhances brainstorming with a voting process” (PMBOK, 115).

Multicriteria Decision Analysis – This group creativity technique is a mouthful of jargon. PMBOK’s definition has some jargon too: “a technique that utilizes a decision matrix to provide a systematic analytical approach for establishing criteria…to evaluate and rank many ideas” (PMBOK, 115). Instead of memorizing the long definition, just break down the words in the jargon backwards. We all know what “analysis” means, right? So “decision analysis” is using a systematic approach to make a choice. “Multicriteria” refers to the fact that you’ll have many options to analyze alternatives on. Put it all together, and you have “multicriteria decision analysis” — an overly-complicated way of saying that you’ll specify ways to evaluate alternatives on several standards.

Context Diagrams are a visual way of depicting scope. These diagrams show the business process inputs and outputs as well as how folks interact with these inputs and outputs (PMBOK, 117). To help myself remember context diagrams, I drew one for my upcoming trip with my fiancee to Kenya. Here’s my take on a Context Diagram (not to be used in real projects, just to remember concepts on the PMBOK guide):

pmp scope management

PMP Scope Management Sample Question

You are managing project to set up a large coffee shop in town. You know that your stakeholders have various opinions, and while collecting your requirements, you want to try to draw them nearer to consensus. Which tool and technique will best serve you in this situation?

A. Focus Group
B. Facilitated Workshop
C. Brainstorming
D. Nominal Group Technique





You should run a facilitated workshop, of course. As we discussed above, the facilitated workshop gets folks to better understand other stakeholders’ points-of-view, which helps build consensus.

Now, are there others that you still need to learn? You should practice by looking up the terms in the PMBOK guide and then coming up with examples of your own. I prefer real-life examples, but if I don’t have one, then I like to make up a silly one. Check out PMBOK from pages 113 to 117, and get creative.

What tools and techniques do YOU have for remember these tools and techniques? Share below!

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