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Couldn't agree more regarding SSM etc. These kind of techniques are often dismissed as vague by certain 'level-headed' types (I refuse to mention names but I assume you are aware of a suitable archetype who is among us!), but they are precisely what is required.
Whether or SSM is, itself, over-specified (for want of a better term) is debatable. For example, do you reckon that having someone describe the idea of a 'rich picture' is really necessary? Surely the philosphy of SSM alone is enough get the point across.
By the way, what do you reckon to Business Process Re-engineering as a philosophy to requirements gathering? Mike Hammer is, thus far, the only person I have seen able to back an approach up with ACTUAL EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE *gasp* of a technique's effectiveness. He is an iconoclastic genius as far as I can tell.