As I write in my most recent report, The Revenue Technology Requirements Discovery Guide, revenue operations leaders “must base revenue technology selection on a solid understanding and expression of business requirements and avoid bias, group think, [and] unsupported assumptions … ” The report covers the importance of good discovery and how to prepare and lay the foundations for it. In the report, I also point out that employing a range of requirements collection methods delivers the best outcomes. Here are some advantages (I’ve prefaced these with a “+” below) and disadvantages (I’ve prefaced these with a “-” below) of a few different approaches to conducting discovery, depending on the situation, timescales, available resources, and solution involved.


These entail straightforward one-on-one discussions about an individual’s needs in relation to the new system, examining current activities and processes together with future requirements:

+ Detailed, qualitative requirements collection

+ Facilitates probing

+ Avoids external influences

– Resource-intensive, should many interviews be needed

– Requires care to ensure consistency

Focus Groups

Similar to interviews, instead of involving 2–4 participants and drawing out multiple viewpoints, focus groups make it possible to more quickly obtain input from a wider range of individuals:

+ Less resource-intensive than interviews

+ Group conversation triggers individual contributions

– Participants must share common requirements

– Group liable to domination by an assertive individual


The classic technique for drawing out ideas from a group, brainstorming can provide rapid input to more formal approaches. Participants pitch ideas with a nonparticipating facilitator acting as a catalyst and “scribe”:

+ Encourages “blue sky” ideas and no-holds-barred thinking

+ Improbable suggestions trigger more mainstream contributions

+ Group dynamic encourages participation

– Generates bad ideas as well as good

– Easy for participants to withdraw from participation


Involving larger groups, workshops might employ a range of techniques, and it’s important to ensure proper structure and facilitation. A workshop will often build on a brainstorm session (see above), with ideas then prioritised, developed, and agreed on:

+ Produces well-developed, validated, and prioritised output

+ Enables wide participation where necessary

+ Highlights potential conflicts as well as overlaps and synergies

– Resource-intensive preparation, facilitation, and output capture

– Can be challenging to schedule multiple participants

Observation And Review

Where an existing system is to be replaced, examining how it is being used and reviewing documentation uncovers as-is requirements. Observe users as they undertake tasks, and ask questions if appropriate:

+ Good for collecting real-life, existing requirements

+ Avoids responder bias by observing actual, not reported, behaviour

– Time-consuming, depending on user numbers and quantity of documentation

– Requires care to ensure that future requirements are not omitted


Should a large number of individuals need to be consulted, a survey or questionnaire is a good way of collecting quantitative feedback quickly, using online survey tools:

+ Enables rapid collection of quantitative feedback from many contributors

+ Standardises requirements collection

+ Suggests where to focus further qualitative investigation

– Difficult to collect substantive qualitative input without considerable effort

– Need to avoid using leading questions in the survey

– Risks overly narrow scope of requirements collection


Read more on the best practices for establishing your business needs in the full report available to Forrester clients, The Revenue Technology Requirements Discovery Guide. Or get in touch to learn more about the pros and cons of other approaches that you can use to conduct discovery. Schedule an inquiry or guidance session to chat live with us.