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questions to ask your Customer

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  • C. Keith Ray
    I found a good set of questions in Exploring Requirements: Quality Before Design by Donald C. Gause and Gerald M. Weinberg. Here are some of the questions,
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 1, 2002
      I found a good set of questions in "Exploring Requirements: Quality
      Before Design" by Donald C. Gause and Gerald M. Weinberg.

      Here are some of the questions, can anyone else think of questions to
      add?
      [Or comment on their relevance to XP?]

      * Who is the client for this product?
      [user vs customer]

      * What is a highly successful solution really worth to this client?
      [getting an idea of what cost-structure is available for doing the
      work?]

      * What is your real reason for wanting to solve this problem?
      [for example, to sell to end-users, to solve in-house problem, to
      get VC funding]

      * How much time do we have for this product?
      [release planning game]

      * What are the trade-offs between time and value?
      [release planning game -- number and "depth" of features.]

      * Where else can the solution to this problem be obtained? Can we copy
      something that already exists?
      [one of my projects partially duplicates Adobe Acrobat, but we don't
      want to license Acrobat for this project.]

      * What problems does this system solve?

      * What problems could this system cause?
      [For example, internet reservations and ticket purchases creates
      the problem for Travel Agents who don't get some of that money...
      some of them go out of business. Travelers get less face-to-face
      advice, and may have a harder time evaluating the advice found
      on the internet.]

      * What environment is this product likely to encounter?
      [cross-platform, web, embedded device?]

      * What kind of precision is required or desired in the product?
      [are rounding errors okay? for a business app? for a game?]

      * Do my questions seem relevant?

      * Is there anything else I should be asking you?

      * Is there someplace I can go to see the environment in which this
      product will be used?

      * Is there anything you want to ask me?

      * What can you tell me about other people (stake-holders? developers?
      consultants?) on this project?
      [One of the ideas is that stake-holders not involved in forming the
      requirements will try to scuttle the project. The XP books mostly avoid
      talking about the politics of the projects.]

      * Are you the right person to answer these questions?
      [one hopes!]

      * Are your answers official?
      [one hopes!]

      * May I write down your answers and give you a written copy to study and
      approve?

      * Can we get together and clarify some points?
      [assumes non-onsite Customer]

      * Is there anyone else who can give me useful answers?

      * Should we use a single design team, or more than one?
      [I'm don't know why Weinberg suggests asking this.]

      * Who should be on the teams?

      * When I asked A about this, she said Y (and you said X); do you have
      any idea why she might have said Y?

      * Is there anybody we need on this project that we don't have?

      * Is there anybody we have on this project that we don't need?
    • jbrewer999
      ... Good stuff. Jerry would be the perfect guy to teach a How to be an XP Customer class. John Brewer Jera Design Extreme Programming FAQ:
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 1, 2002
        --- In extremeprogramming@y..., "C. Keith Ray" <ckeithray@a...> wrote:
        > I found a good set of questions in "Exploring Requirements: Quality
        > Before Design" by Donald C. Gause and Gerald M. Weinberg.

        Good stuff. Jerry would be the perfect guy to teach a "How to be an
        XP Customer" class.

        John Brewer
        Jera Design

        Extreme Programming FAQ: http://www.jera.com/techinfo/xpfaq.html
      • C. Keith Ray
        a few more questions... What features or attributes for this product are required by law? Standards? Preferences? What requirements do/don t apply to this/that
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 1, 2002
          a few more questions...

          What features or attributes for this product are required by law? Standards?
          Preferences?

          What requirements do/don't apply to this/that market segment?

          What (un)finished products is this product like?

          What features of this product were also tried/removed from previous
          products?

          What's missing in a previous product that this one should do?

          What features are considered for this product, that don't work in a previous
          product?

          What groups of people have had problems with products similar to this one?

          How is the user to correct (his own/others') errors?

          What features are missing in this product? How is the user to do without
          them?

          What acceptance tests for other products are applicable to this one?

          What could happen if someone used this product for immoral purposes?

          What if the user is impaired in sight, hearing, or another communication
          medium?

          What if the user is not an English/YourLanguage speaker? Not Literate?

          What if the user is multi-lingual and wants to use multiple languages with
          this product (at the same time / one at a time)?

          What happens when the user selects the (in)correct commands?

          What happens if the user is not authorized to use certain commands?

          What happens if the user is confused by the interface?

          Besides normal usage, what happens in event of abnormal but reasonable
          usage, abnormal and unreasonable usage?
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