Use KRAC to identify needs

We’ve all seen it before – the “deer in the headlights” look when we ask, “What are your requirements?” The problem isn’t them but us. We aren’t asking the right question. Most of the time, stakeholders don’t know what they need, although they are great at telling us the solution.

People pride themselves on solving problems and identifying solutions. Many times, they put the solution before the requirements (needs). Not surprisingly, this is the easiest thing to do but not the smartest. How much money, time, rework, scrap, and frustration result from well-intended decision makers implementing solutions that don’t solve problems or fulfill needs?

We have all been victims of poor decisions in the workplace. It makes sense to stop and elicit requirements from the stakeholders. To help them, you can use a simple tool coined by the Center for Requirements Excellence (CRE) called a KRAC Analysis:

1) Keep
2) Remove
3) Add
4) Change

According to Stace Williams at CRE, this order is vital for cognitive processing. Start with any existing document, flow chart, or diagram, then KRAC it! Ask your stakeholders what they want to Keep first. This starts the analysis on a positive note and also puts them at ease that the things that they like and are working probably won’t change. Second, solicit what they don’t need from the items that remain (Remove). This gives them their chance to get rid of burdensome and no-value pieces. Third, inquire what they need that they don’t have right now (Add). Last, ask them what needs revising (Change).

These series of questions and their responses will help you easily go from the current state to begin to identify requirements for the future state, ensuring that the solution addresses their requirements. Even if you don’t have any existing documentation as a starting point, you can create a sample or prototype and apply this method to get requirements.

Let me know how this simple tool works for you! If you are curious about more business analysis tools, please contact me.