Saturday, February 09, 2008

Software Requirements

I had a brief discussion with a family member this evening in which the following Henry Ford quote was used. "If I'd asked people what they wanted, they would have asked for a better horse." I had mentioned that at times building business software is difficult because the target is never fixed, and with changing requirements it becomes difficult to deliver the project to the satisfaction of stakeholders. It is humbling to see a different perspective on the same problem. Rather than expecting business sponsors to be able to deliver a comprehensive set of requirements, I was challenged to learn the business so that it could be applied to the problem to anticipate what business may need. Business is great at identifying needs, but they may not know what the solution should look like. That's where grounded knowledge of business and good engineering can come together to meet needs in new and awesome ways. This thought really resonated with me this evening. In theory this gives the engineer more responsibility and equity in the work she does. It also should deliver a product that meets or exceeds requirements, bringing growth and change to an organization. I think that there's some good stuff here. I've clearly got some changing to do.