Thursday, January 7, 2010

An off beat tool for gathering requirements

In the last few months I have been slowly gathering requirements for a project I'm working ( a Personal Information Manager).

While I was talking with a friend who is a professional negotiator he mentioned a tool that might be useful for what I was doing. It is SurveyMonkey.

Now I know that a lot of you have already heard of and used this and I am probably the slow person on the block, but I never considered using this for gathering software requirements. I tried using the free account and I sent out a survey to some 20 people ( I got 11 back so far).

The survey was about how they used their calendars and their mobile devices to manage their day.

The results were actually surprising to me. I have looked at several other academic and nonacademic surveys were done on the same topic about 8-10 years ago and I expected the results to be somewhat in line with those surveys.

They weren't even close.

The key thing that is different is that all of the survey results showed that every one of those people is using a PDA or phone for managing some part of their life. This was something that eight years ago was restricted to really serious techies.

If nothing else I would seriously suggest looking at using tools like SurveyMonkey for gathering information, it might even be a useful tool within a company for gathering software requirements.

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