In project management, it is necessary to determine the work required to complete the project. One of the tools that are used to define and control what is included in the project is the technique called observations. It is a technique that provides a way of viewing individuals–usually team members–in their own environment doing their tasks as well as carrying processes that are necessary for completing the task/s.

Observations are one of the tools and requirements under Collect Requirements. Together with questionnaires and survey, focus groups, facilitated the workshop, prototypes, document analysis, context diagram and benchmarking, observations are used  to create the project documentation and the requirement  traceability matrix. All of these will eventually be used to create to define the scope of the project.

Observations are very helpful  in performing detailed  processes especially when people who use the product encounter  difficulty or are reluctant to express their own requirements. This is the reason why observations are also called job shadowing. It is done in different ways such as an observer viewing an expert performing a job or  being an actual participant to perform a process to experience how things are done.

This term is defined in the 5th edition of the PMBOK.