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Ignoring Requirements

Posted by daniel on July 17, 2003 at 8:31 AM PDT

You get a big fat requirements specification document. You know, the one big enough for a three year old to use as a booster seat. You couldn't possibly have read it all -- do you sign it? In Java Today we link to Stephen Taylor's discussion of this issue. In The Experience of Being Understood, Taylor says that in his experience, the business manager always signs to approve a document he couldn't possibly have read himself.

Taylor summarizes the problem as follows:

The development process pretends that the business people use the requirement specification to confirm that the analysts have grasped what they want. But that’s not true. The business users don’t rely on the requirement specification to tell them this. So what do we rely on?

He answers this question that acceptance of requirements is based on "long conversations about our business and the imagined system". But, he continues, how do we know we're really understanding each other? He offers this analogy.

Consider someone learning to speak, say, Italian. We can distinguish different levels of competence in speakers, from my toilet-and-restaurant Italian (which suffices for holidays, thank you) to the ability to speak like a native. The test for the latter is something like the Turing Test. If an Italian can’t tell Italian isn’t your first language, you speak Italian like a native. For other levels of proficiency, there are other tests, written and spoken.

In addition in Also Today section we link to Brett McLaughlin's article JSP best practices: The power of time stamps. Brett shows you one way to add a "last-modified" date or time stamp on a JSP page using the lastModified() method.

In today's featured Weblogs Greg Vaughn shares his first entry href=""> "How to Become a Java Guru"
. Vaughn encourages you to familiarize with what's already been written. With a reference to Isaac Newton, he advises that you stand on the shoulders of giants and take time to explore new APIs when you approach a new task. Chris Campbell thinks about accessibility and assistive technologies in
"What's the Refresh Rate On Your Tongue". Consider joining the "trend in designing accessibility into products from the start, rather than patching accessible features onto products as an afterthought."

Steve Mallett, the Java Today news editor has gathered the following
Java Today News Headlines : href=""> "Apache Maven 1.0 beta10 released", "BEA Releases Remaining WebLogic 8.1 Software", TRON man shuns Gates-like fortune", "An interview with Grady Booch", and "Microsoft Targets J2EE Users with JLCA 2.0".

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