Applying the H-Method to Stakeholder Interviews

I came across the H-method a number of years ago while researching analysis techniques. It’s one of those methods that stay with you because of its practicality. it’s particularly useful in framing interview questions.

Going about the interview without an interview guide may result in widely unstructured information and a situation where the analyst comes out with more questions than answers. Having a framework within which to ask questions and organize the information provided by the interviewee can provide more structure and clarity, eliminating the need to spend additional time structuring information after meeting with stakeholders.

The H-method was introduced by Project Perfect and attempts to bridge the gap between how stakeholders want to explain their requirements and how the BA sorts that information. It provides the analyst with a format for recording stakeholders' comments from the onset and also provides insight into how to ask questions in a simple language that aligns more closely with the stakeholder’s view of the world.

The H-method

Note the shape of the H in the above diagram and how the questions work together to provide a complete view of system requirements. As the stakeholder provides answers to each interview question, the analyst is expected to document each answer in the appropriate H "bucket".

What do you do? maps to potential system functionality, What rules apply? maps to business rules, what do you keep track of? maps to data, What do other people give you? maps to system inputs, and what do you give other people? maps to system outputs.

The H method can also be drawn on a white board during workshop sessions to capture information and can help the analyst identify any information gaps.

Have you had any experience with the H-method you'd like to share?