Data Gathering

Data Gathering

What is Data Gathering?

Data Gathering as defined by PMI are ‘techniques used to collect data and information from a variety of sources‘.

Why Is Data Gathering important?

Data is necessary for project management as all decisions are based off it. For the Project Manager, data from processes will have to be collected, analysed, prioritized and presented. This is useful to all stakeholders, sponsors as well as your own team members. By learning certain techniques and applying them to the right circumstances, you set your project up for success.

Data Gathering Techniques

1. Brainstorming

This technique is used to identify a list of ideas in a short period of time in a group discussion held by a facilitator. 

Brainstorming comprises two parts:

  • Idea generation: Focus on Quantity
  • Analysis: Focus on Quality

Processes that use them:

  • Develop project charter
  • Develop project management plan
  • Collect requirements
  • Plan quality management
  • Identify risks
  • Identify stakeholders
2. Focus Groups

Focus groups bring together stakeholders and subject matter experts to learn about how the market will respond to a product.

Brainstorming is more conversational than a one-on-one interview

Processes that use them:

  • Develop project charter
  • Develop project management plan
  • Collect requirements
3. Interviews

Interviews are used to obtain information on high-level requirements, assumptions or constraints from stakeholders by talking directly to them.

It is conducted on an individual basis but can also have multiple interviewees or interviewers. This is a good approach for collecting confidential information.

Processes that use them:

  • Develop project charter
  • Develop project management plan
  • Collect requirements
  • Plan quality management
  • Identify risks
  • Perform qualitative risk analysis
  • Perform quantitative risk analysis
  • Plan risk responses
4. Checklists

Structured tool to ensure to check if required steps of a process are completed. Many organizations have standardised checklists and are relatively easy to use.

Processes that use them:

  • Develop project management plan
  • Manage quality
  • Control quality
  • Identify risks
5. Nominal Group Technique

A technique that enhances brainstorming with a voting process used to rank the most useful ideas for further brainstorming or for prioritization.

Processes that use them:

  • Develop project charter
  • Develop project management plan
  • Collect requirements
  • Plan quality management
  • Identify risks
  • Identify stakeholders
6. Questionnaires and Surveys

Written sets of questions designed to quickly accumulate information from a large number of respondents

Processes that use them:

  • Collect requirements
  • Control quality
  • Identify stakeholders
7. Statistical Sampling

Samples are chosen at random and tested or inspected. This reduces overall cost of testing as it only includes a sample population.

Consists of 2 types:

  • Attribute Sampling: Pass or Fail
  • Variable Sampling: Continuous scale

Processes that use them:

  • Control quality process
8. Benchmarking

Comparing actual or planned activities to those of comparable organizations. This helps identify best practices, generate ideas and measure performance

Consists of 2 types:

  • Attribute Sampling: Pass or Fail
  • Variable Sampling: Continuous scale

Processes that use them:

  • Collect requirements
  • Plan quality management
  • Plan stakeholder engagement

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