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[XP] Re: For an article: What do you wish your CIO understood about requirements

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  • estherschindler
    ... left alone to ... Oh, sure -- on both counts. Judging from the nature of the replies, my personal observation is that the developers who want fewer
    Message 1 of 22 , Jan 3, 2007
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      --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Brad Appleton
      <Brad.Appleton@...> wrote:
      > > and others want a general set of the app's goals and want to be
      left alone to
      > > figure out how it should work.
      >
      > This often has to do with a feeling of freedom/empowerment. Some want
      > details to be given to them so they wont/cant be blamed for the
      > decisions that led to those details. Others want to know merely the few
      > true/hard and binding constraints - everything else is freedom within
      > those constraints, and is often more interesting/challenging.

      Oh, sure -- on both counts.

      Judging from the nature of the replies, my personal observation is
      that the developers who want fewer requirements typically work on
      smaller projects where the definition is not complex, and/or the
      development team is small (very possibly a solo consultant). Or it's a
      creative endeavor, such as web site design... the squishier UI side of
      things more than cranking out database connectivity code.

      I understand the "I want everything documented" side, too. I know one
      programmer locally who works for a big financial firm; he's been a
      contractor on that position for six months or so. George is livid
      because the management never did send out any form of software
      requirements, and the result is that everybody is making it up as they
      go along. You _know_ that it's being designed for the programmer's
      easy path rather than the user's need, because they have no idea what
      the user needs. And, rather than adopt a CYA attitude, the developers
      are really upset about it... just feeling helpless.

      > Im curious as to whether those wanting more freedom to be "left
      alone to
      > figure out how it should work" are under less pressure to make
      > initial/early estimates be accurate, or if they are the ones who get to
      > flesh out the details first before they give any estimate?

      I've no idea. I'm asking in public forums just like this one, and they
      tell me only what they tell me. <chuckle>

      Esther
    • Victor
      Hi Esther, One thing that seems to be left out of your comments is the concept of communication between developers and customers. Remember, this is an XP
      Message 2 of 22 , Jan 3, 2007
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        Hi Esther,

        One thing that seems to be left out of your comments is the concept of communication between developers and customers. Remember, this is an XP group and it's useful to read and understand the corresponding literature.

        Within the XP environment, customers and developers are co-located, The customer or her representative is always available to answer questions from the developers, or bring their own insight. The issue is not so much to be lax on the requirements, but let the requirements develop in their exacting detail as part of the development process, rather than totally upfront, before any development has occurred and any new insight about the real needs had had the opportunity to evolve.

        This is important because of the reality that in most cases it's impossible to envision the totality of the application's requirements upfront. It could be argued that how come that bridges and huge, complex buildings can be designed upfront and software can't. If you observe at many of these bridges and buildings, you may see design problems. However, because it's so expensive to redesign once the construction is finished, people just live with those imperfections and many times gloss over them. They are not mentioned unless something collapses.

        This is one of the advantages of the software being soft, that by maintaining its malleability throughout the development process, improvements and corrections can be done on the fly at very low cost. The responsibility of maintaining the software malleability falls on the shoulders of the XP team.

        If you have more questions, please keep shooting.

        Victor Goldberg, Ph.D.

        ==============================================

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: estherschindler
        To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Wednesday, January 03, 2007 7:40 PM
        Subject: [XP] Re: For an article: What do you wish your CIO understood about requirements


        --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Brad Appleton
        <Brad.Appleton@...> wrote:
        > > and others want a general set of the app's goals and want to be
        left alone to
        > > figure out how it should work.
        >
        > This often has to do with a feeling of freedom/empowerment. Some want
        > details to be given to them so they wont/cant be blamed for the
        > decisions that led to those details. Others want to know merely the few
        > true/hard and binding constraints - everything else is freedom within
        > those constraints, and is often more interesting/challenging.

        Oh, sure -- on both counts.

        Judging from the nature of the replies, my personal observation is
        that the developers who want fewer requirements typically work on
        smaller projects where the definition is not complex, and/or the
        development team is small (very possibly a solo consultant). Or it's a
        creative endeavor, such as web site design... the squishier UI side of
        things more than cranking out database connectivity code.

        I understand the "I want everything documented" side, too. I know one
        programmer locally who works for a big financial firm; he's been a
        contractor on that position for six months or so. George is livid
        because the management never did send out any form of software
        requirements, and the result is that everybody is making it up as they
        go along. You _know_ that it's being designed for the programmer's
        easy path rather than the user's need, because they have no idea what
        the user needs. And, rather than adopt a CYA attitude, the developers
        are really upset about it... just feeling helpless.

        > Im curious as to whether those wanting more freedom to be "left
        alone to
        > figure out how it should work" are under less pressure to make
        > initial/early estimates be accurate, or if they are the ones who get to
        > flesh out the details first before they give any estimate?

        I've no idea. I'm asking in public forums just like this one, and they
        tell me only what they tell me. <chuckle>

        Esther





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