You are in school or university, and wanna know how real life problems look like? Here’s the ‘definite’ guide:
Level 0, School:
Two construction workers take one day to lay a road surface of one kilometer. How long do four workers take?
Now, say you have a little business that offers solving word problems:
Level 1, verbose customer (redundant):
Customer: Jake and Elwood are construction workers in our company for quite a while now. They’re laying road surfaces. They usually do one kilometer per day. They work together quite well. Good people are hard to find these days. Currently we hired Stanley and Oliver. If they all worked together, how would this improve performance?
Level 2, flippant customer (incomplete):
Customer: Our construction workers laying road surfaces. How much do we improve if we double the work force?
You: Please tell me, how many workers do you employ currently and how do they perform?
Level 3, objective aware customer (elicitation):
Cus: Heared that you can help me with work force planning?
Cus: How long do our workers take for laying this road?
You: How long is the road going to be?
Cus: One kilometer.
You: What does the performance depend on?
Cus: The number of workers mainly.
You: So the length of the road has no effect?
You: How many workers do you want to employ?
You: Do you have any experience out of former projects?
Cus: We recently had a project where two workers finished one kilometer in one day.
Level 4, schizophrenic customer (inconsistent):
Cus (guy 1): My team lays a road of one kilometer in only two days!
Cus (guy 2): My team is so lazy, they need half a day for laying one kilometer.
Level 5, solution unaware customer (consulting):
Cus: Our business is laying road surfaces. I goes pretty well.
You: How long do you take for a typical road?
Cus: No idea.
You: What if you were able to say?
Cus: If this were possible, then we could improve our planning. Would be great.
Level 6, problem unaware customer (sales):
You: How are you scheduling your projects?
Cus: We don’t do that.
You: How do you manage your workforce of the actual and subsequent projects?
Cus: We don’t do that.
You: What do you do if the next project starts already and the current project hasn’t been finished, yet?
Cus: We discuss this with our customer.
You: What do customers think about this?
Cus: Usually they are very upset.
You: What if I can show you how to avoid this problem?
Cus: Great, tell me more!
Any similarities with Business Analysis or Requirements Engineering are purely coincidental.
Have fun (I had)