Strategies for information requirements determination
by G. B. Davis
Correct and complete information requirements are key ingredients in planning organizational information systems and in implementing information systems applications. Yet, there has been relatively little research on information requirements determination, and there are rel-a-tive-ly few practical, well-formulated procedures for obtaining complete, correct information requirements. Methods for obtaining and documenting information requirements are proposed, but they tend to be presented as general solutions rather than alternative methods for implementing a chosen strategy of requirements determination. This paper identifies two major levels of requirements: the organizational information requirements reflected in a planned portfolio of applications and the detailed information requirements to be implemented in a specific application. The constraints on humans as information processors are described in order to explain why 'asking' users for information requirements may not yield a complete, correct set. Various strategies for obtaining information requirements are explained. Examples are given of methods that fit each strategy. A contingency approach is then presented for selecting an information requirements determination strategy. The contingency approach is explained both for defining organizational information requirements and for defining specific, detailed requirements in the development of an application.