When Technology Falls Short – The Human Solution
Technology has revolutionized the way people seek, organize, and store information. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses critical information to achieve its mission, whether that is securing the border, processing travelers, or mitigating flood risk. Collecting and researching huge amounts of information is now faster and easier than ever. Despite these technological advances, analysts can still miss the underlying issues hidden behind reams of data.
Well-informed analysts can address this problem through thorough requirements gathering processes that put the client at the center of the analysis. Essentially, the requirements process is the ability to get clients to tell you what they really need rather than assuming their needs from the collected data.
Here are a few key steps to gathering great requirements that lead to a powerful solution for the clients to achieve their mission:
- Ask questions to identify operational and mission capability gaps
- Develop a strong relationship with the client to understand their agency and their program goals, motivations, pressures, strengths, and weaknesses
- Prioritize information to focus on the most critical requirements
- Determine the relevance and importance of the requirements based on value, risk, difficulty of implementation, or other criteria
- Transform the requirements into a solution through collaborative brainstorming sessions
- Test concepts to find the best method to provide innovation and growth
- Always stay close to the users throughout the development lifecycle to adjust and re-prioritize as needed
When setting objectives and determining strategy, active communication is critical to build trust with the users in a mutually beneficial partnership. Knowledgeable analysts understand the importance of extracting key desires from the client, so they can align the solution with mission needs.
It is easy to gather bulk information. Sifting through it to find true pain points, mission challenges, and innovative ideas may need something more. DHS gathers information to achieve its mission of protecting the homeland from terrorism and other hazards. When defining and pursuing strategic objectives, the human connection – specifically, interpersonal communication – is a key part of the process.