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Gathering Software Requirements With Play-Doh

Play-Doh. We know it, we love it, we’ve been tempted to eat it when we were wee lads. So why is everybody’s favorite moldable material making an appearance in a software requirements blog?

For starters, it works wonders to raise the fun factor of any elicitation session. Give a room full of subject matter experts some Play-Doh and watch as their ongoing tactile project fuels their thinking for the software requirements that will meet their business objectives. There will never be a dull moment.

Take a closer look at what is really going on here. You start with a tub of Play-Doh with the possibilities for a concoction only limited by your imagination. Crafting a clay-like creation is certainly contingent on constantly changing conditions. As people work with Play-Doh, they are implementing the very definition of agile requirements! While Paul from Procurement is spouting off his wishlist of features for the new system, his replica Play-Doh hamburger has a patty but needs a pickle. He prioritizes his toppings and builds them in sprints. When the lettuce makes it in, the bun needs some tweaking. Fortunately, Play-Doh is an agile project tool, so he can revisit it to add the sesame seeds.

Your subject matter experts already have an agile project mentality. You just need to get them to recognize this approach about building the software for their day job (when they’re not busy commissioning a Play-Doh sculpture for the office museum).


  1. Business Requirements Gathering - Tools of the Trade - March 25, 2015

    […] I’m not saying that every elicitation session should include Play-Doh.  But it may be a tool that you have tucked away in your bag of tricks…ready to pull out if the […]

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