22 January 2011

(n(n − 1) / 2) Rn - the complexity of requirements workshops

Alex Papworth is running an online training session for business analysts and the discussion has turned to the challenges of workshops. Many feel the workshop format is inherently difficult (which I agree with.) I wanted to make a point and so put this together to help clarify my ideas.

Workshop complexity is the same as the Fred Brooks's Mythical Man Month, although I think a requirements workshop is even more complex as you have to address multiple issues in one session.  This leads me to add another element to Fred's model;

   (n(n − 1) / 2) Rn

Where Rn is the number of requirements being handled in the session.

Take a look.


  1. Ah, you did not say what kind of workshop (although I was pretty sure it didn't involve hammers and saws...).

    Where did our intrepid Business Analyst get these 7 requirements? If not from these stakeholders, than who?

    Certainly way too late to be discussing the form of requirement statements.

    I know, this could be considered nit-picking of an example to illustrate a concept, but the circles and lines diagrams are meaningless, to me anyway. Is it supposed to show that all of whatever it is, is supposed to be tracked by the analyst?

  2. The lines simply indicate the volume of conversation traffic. You can only fit so many words into an hour.

  3. then as the last slide shows, facilitation is key (hmmm reminds of an Allman Brothers song: "Wasted Words")