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Too Briggs for Your Breeches? Personality Type and Requirements.

Is there a “type” that is more suited to requirements elicitation and documentation? A survey of our experience identified four useful personality roles that have direct application to the requirements gathering process: Openers, Closers, Handlers, and Hunters.

Jung at Heart
Personality typing rubrics seems to be a surprisingly touchy subject for a neutral “instrument” (the word “test” is deemed judgmental). I notice the Wikipedia article on Myers-Briggs actually had sections discussing personality attributes labeled as having disputed neutrality. What do people think is the best personality type that is a better fit for requirements elicitation and documentation? Should teams be a phalanx of a certain type like the Spartans? Or perhaps more like a salad of different personalities, like the A-Team? Or are personality types just a lot of bunkum?

Openers, Closers, Handlers, Hunters
Our team identified a few roughly defined types that may help build a team that addresses many of the common needs of a requirement gathering project:

Openers (XNXP)
Generally speaking, NP’s (iNtuitive Perceivers) abstract visionary skills are ideal for project kick-offs and “getting” the big idea quickly.
Strengths: Openers give a strong positive first impression for the whole team with their quick-draw, right-on analysis.
Weaknesses: Openers don’t always follow through on… ooh, look a bird!

Closers (XSXJ)
On the other end, SJ’s (Sensing Judgers) obsession for detail and resolution are ideal for making sure the big idea gets realized and the scope of the project is achieved.
Strengths: Give them a ship and a star (ok, and maybe a map and sextant) and they’ll not leave the wheel till the project gets fully into port.
Weaknesses: Uncharted waters make closers seasick. First the details, please!

Handlers (ESXJ)
A Handler’s action-oriented detail-driven style can be a perfect complement for working with those quirky, high-production subject matter experts—the Architects (aka the INTP’s). The Handler makes sure the Architect’s time isn’t wasted.
Strengths: ESXJ can put the Architect’s mind at ease, knowing that their vision will be heard and fastidiously recorded.
Weaknesses: If the Architect isn’t secure in their role as Super SME, they may feel bullied and not protected by their handler.

Hunters (INXJ)
A Hunter’s single-minded zeal to systematically arrive at a solution make these types are ideal for elicitation and documentation, especially when there are missing pieces. They can work their relationships to stalk problems.
Strengths: They can sniff out the answers when no one else can.
Weaknesses: Not always comfortable in the spotlight.

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