September 3, 2017

...Learn TDD with Codemanship

Iterating is THE Requirements Discipline

OK. Let's get serious about software requirements, shall we?

The part where we talk to the customer and write specifications and agree acceptance tests and so forth? That's the least important part of figuring out what software we need to build.

You heard me right. Requirements specification is the least important part of requirements analysis.


It's 2017, so I'm hoping you've heard of this thing they have nowadays (and since the 1970s) called iterative design. You have? Excellent.

Iterating is the most important part of requirements analysis.

When we iterate our designs faster, testing our theories about what will work in shorter feedback loops, we converge on a working solution sooner.

We learn our way to Building The Right ThingTM.

Here's the thing with iterative problem solving processes: the number of iterations matters more than the accuracy of the initial input.

We could agonise over taking our best first guess at the square root of a number, or we could just start with half the input number and let the feedback loop do the rest.

I don't know if you've been paying attention, but that's the whole bedrock of Agile Software Development. All the meetings and documents and standards in the world - the accoutrements of Big Process - don't mean a hill of beans if you're only allowing yourself feedback from real end users using real working software every, say, 2 years.

So ask your requirements analyst or product owner this question: "What's your plan for testing these theories?"

I'll wager a shiny penny they haven't got one.

Posted 2 weeks, 4 days ago on September 3, 2017