Naga Chokkanathan

Why Not? — Asking The Right Question

Posted on: February 18, 2011

Last week I delivered a training program for a small team of Business Analysts. One of the topics we discussed was, “Conducting Executive Interviews”.

This module covered in detail, how to extract your customer’s requirements by asking series of questions. It concluded with a summary that by asking the right questions, you will be able to know the real intentions behind what the client wants to achieve and plan your software design / development accordingly.

During the next break, one of the participants approached me with a curious argument ‘Asking questions and extracting real requirements is theoretically correct. But normally we business analysts don’t do that, we are expected to pre-determine the requirements, and then ask intelligent questions in such a way that the client ends up saying what we want to hear! That way we will end-up doing less amount of work to complete the product implementation.’

I didn’t understand his argument and asked him to explain. He gave me this story:

A and B were close friends. They studied together, worked together and even went to the same religious center for prayer.

During one of those prayers, They felt like smoking. But they were worried if it is against the religious laws

After the prayer, A went to the priest and asked “Sir, can I smoke while I Pray?”

Priest was very upset to hear this and said “No, Absolutely Not!”

B was seeing all these and he decided to play it differently. He approached the same priest and asked “Sir, Can I Pray while I Smoke?”

Priest said “Sure! Why Not?”



N. Chokkan …

18 02 2011

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