Why
Who
Plan
Arrangements
Approach
Interview
Questions
Flow
After

Systems Analysis
Tools

The Acquired Wisdom's

of Juerg

Interview Techniques

Wednesday, 14-Nov-2018 06:21:42 GMT

               

Following are a few thoughts on how to conduct interviews, as part of a systems analysis engagement.


What's it all about ?

The aim of a series of interviews is to build a model that represent the world you are working with.

Why

Choose the right people

  • Do not expect to get all the information in 1 interview or from 1 person.
  • It is very important to choose the right people to interview.
    • All the key people within the study boundary should be included.
    • While trying to keep the number of interviews to a minimum
  • Start at the top
    • Gets support and co-operation from management, by interviewing them

Who

Strategy

  • Use a top down approach (start with management then work down).
    • High level then go into more detail.
    • Get the big picture first.
    • Develop the top-level model first then look at system components
    • Do not forget the end users of the system
    • Verify the existing model
Strategy

Establish a plan

  • Learn as much as you can before hand from other sources
  • Determine what information you needs to gathered to fill in the gaps in the model.
  • Prepare your questions in advance
  • Avoid asking the same questions repeatedly
  • Do not plan to do too much
  • Do not over plan
  • Define your goals
  • Address peoples with their full and correct names and titles.
  • Remember others may read your notes while you write them, so be PC

Plan

Arranging the Interview

  • Do not just turn up, it gives a negative impressions.
  • Pick a location that is good for the person to be interviewed
  • Book a room, do not start the process with a room hunt, it give a disorganised impression
  • The more secure the person to be interviewed feels the more likely they are to talk.
  • There are on occasions good reasons to do the reverse, i.e. make the person to be interviewed fell insecure.
  • Ideally restrict an interview to no more than 1 hour
    • Have many short interviews rather that 1 long one.

Arrangements

Approach

  • You are the advisor
  • You are there to learn
    • Ask for suggestions and follow them up
  • Make your goals known
  • Make what you want to learn known
  • Explain the reasons behind the interview
    • What the new will do
    • What the old does
    • The problems

  • Establish confidence in your abilities
    • Introduce yourself
    • Say
      • Why you are here
      • What you expect to get out of the study
      • How long it will take
      • What steps are to be followed (agenda)
      • What you will produce
  • Ensure them that you are here to help solve their problems
    • You are not here to find blame
    • You do not want to take up too much of their time
    • Describe how they can be solved in a logical way.
  • Establish a good relationships with the interviewees
    • Show interest in what is begin talked about
    • Be friendly and polite
    • Respect their position
    • Respect their needs
    • Be courteous.
  • If the interview team is more than 1 person
    • assign role
    • define functions

Approach

The Interview

  • Control the interview
  • Be on time and do not overrun
  • Avoid all remarks related to sex, religion, politics and race
  • You are here to listen so "SHUT UP"
  • Ask direct questions
  • Stick to the topic
    • avoid stories, anecdotes
    • avoid irrelevancies
  • Do not
    • interrogate
    • try to catch the interviewee out
  • Proceed in an organised manor
  • Collect leads as to where to get more information
  • If you plan to take notes or record ask permission
  • Allow the interviewee time to answer your questions
  • Occasionally summarise what you have learned
  • Do not waist their time
  • Do not become aggressive
  • Avoid confrontation
  • Concentrate on issues not personalities
  • Do not apportion blame
  • Do not give your opinions
  • Try to get responses
  • Avoid jargon
  • Proceed gradually
  • Be precise
  • If attacked stay calm and factual.
  • Let them talk
    • affirm
    • keep eye contact, avoid stare
    • "keep smiling and nodding"
  • Be relaxed
  • Be attentive
  • Listen for negatives
  • Try not to be negative, be positive
  • YOU ARE THERE TO LEARN FROM THEM, NOT THE OTHER WAY ROUND
  • YOU MAY BE A TOP GURU IN YOUR FIELD AN EARN 10 TIMES AS MUCH, HAVE A POSH SUIT DRIVE A FAST CAR AND THEY MAY ONLY BE A TRAINEE SHEEP HERD; BUT CAN YOU HERD SHEEP !
  • THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT.
  • THE CUSTOMER HAS THE RIGHT TO BE WRONG.

Interview

The Questions

  • Types
    • Open question
      • seeks an opinion
    • Closed question
      • requires a fact
      • if the interviewee is not responsive
    • Probe
      • a follow up question
  • Sequence
    • Mainly open
      • Typical for first interview
    • Mainly closed
      • second interview

Questions

The Interview Flow

  • Briefing
    • Before the interview brief the team
  • Preliminaries
    • Introduction
    • Define goals
      • Interviewees knows what is expected of them
    • Define procedures
      • permission for notes
      • time
    • Summarise what you know
    • Seek confirmation
  • Body
    • Question
    • Listen
    • Confirm
  • Conclusion
    • Summarise
    • Confirm
    • Arrange next interview
  • Debriefing
    • After the interview debrief the team

Flow

After the Interview

  • Convert notes to a proper record immediately after meeting
    • If there are more than 1 interviewer all must produce their own record
    • For workshops the Interviewees should be encouraged to produce their own record
    • All individual record should be compiled into 1 document.
  • Update the model
  • Verify the model from other interview

After

Copyright © 1997 - 2008 Juerg Mueller. Last update - Saturday, 14-Jun-2008 18:58:14 CEST