Interviews

Posted on July 17, 2009 by

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An interview is a straightforward method of gaining information and opinions from others in a verbal manner by the interviewer asking an interviewee a set of questions. It is listed as a technique both of the fourth edition PMBOK®’s Collect Requirements process and as a technique of the BABOK® 2.0. In the fields of project management and business analysis, interviews are commonly used to collect requirements. Also, when identifying stakeholders, already known stakeholders may be asked to identify additional stakeholders. Expert Judgment is a common tool across the project management processes, and it may be obtained through several methods including interviews. Lastly, risk management typically involves interviews, because dealing with risk depends much on people’s knowledge, experiences, and ideas of what might go wrong for a particular project.

Interviews are usually one-on-one, but a group of people can be interviewed simultaneously. The interview itself can be structured (the interviewer must exactly follow the script of pre-written questions) or unstructured (the interviewer can ask follow-up questions and has some flexibility).

It is important that the interview questions be prepared beforehand, and it is best if the session can be recorded. The quality of the interview results depends in part on the interviewer. The interviewer should be able to build rapport, be knowledgeable (especially when performing unstructured interviews), and maintain focus on the goals. Afterwards, the information from the interview is analyzed, and notes may be sent to the interviewee for confirmation.