Become a User- 1 min
There is a single technique to get inside your users’ requirements that isn’t used often enough: become a user. Are you writing a system for the help desk? Spend a couple of days monitoring the phones with an experienced support person. Are you automating a manual stock control system? Work in the warehouse for a week. As well as giving you insight into how the system will really be used, you’d be amazed at how the request May I sit in for a week while you do your job? helps build trust and establishes a basis for communication with your users.
The requirements mining process is also the time to start to build a rapport with your user base, learning their expectations and hopes for the system you are building.
From The Pragmatic Programmer, by Andy Hunt & David Thomas.
Although I have had few opportunities to practice such technique, I strongly believe invest some time with the actual user can be way better than spend lots of hours in verbose and boring meetings with managers.