Monday, 19 Mar 2007
Requirements Considered Harmful
"Since it's difficult to decide what to build, and since decisions are
based on decisions, it's often likely that in a pile of decisions
there's a few that are just bad decisions. Figuring out which are bad
is difficult. By difficult, I mean darn near impossible.
"Asking for those decisions as requirements avoids the difficulty of
figuring out which are wrong by placing all the responsibility on to
the person [who] made them. By calling them 'requirements' we ask this
person to take full responsibility for their decisions. We're not
collaborators. We're not here to help.
"Taking responsibility for one's decisions is usually a good
thing. However, requirements documents have an aptitude for anonymizing
decisions - for obfuscating the person or people who made them, and
the motivations for those decisions. Sadly, the net result is no one
taking responsibility. And often no one to even ask exactly who
decided this was a requirement and why."
- Jeff Patton
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