As a first step to any project, gathering and understanding requirements is vital to your success; and yet we spend little to no time on this very important process. Identifying and involving the appropriate stakeholders during the requirements phase is just as important as eliciting those perfect requirements.
I spent many years as a business analyst, and I have found that for me the most effective way to elicit requirements was to conduct requirement workshops. In this workshop, I identify specific topics on my agenda and pick stakeholders with clout, i.e. those that are well versed in their specific business units. Also, I push for using stakeholders from different business units to give the workshop the benefit of multiple perspectives.