One of my favourite parts of the software development cycle is the requirements phase and in particular, scoping the piece of work we're biting off. Whether slumming it old-school in the long-drawn out period of the Waterfall phase or duking it out in the short sharp iterations of Agile, the conversations about scoping, risk and assurance are some of the most interesting discussions a software team can have.
Software is written by the whole team, code is executed by developers; And by team, I mean the entire team. The full gamut. A cross-disciplinary crack team trying to find out where that line is in the sand. Each function has important part to play in the process. Customer service people are thinking about the pain that they hear about from customers. They are the idealists in the conversation. Sales guys are thinking about the fast and zippy things they can focus on. They're listening to potential customers and trying to peel back the requirements to focus in what they know people are saying about the product. Developers are listening to what everyone else is saying and trying first what to build, and also to figure out what everyone else is not saying that may complicate the project. And the senior management team lead by a whip-cracking CEO develop visions on what we're signing up to deliver over the next three, six and twelve months.
The conversations are rewarding. They reveal our biases, and help us grow a little. Those conversations plumb the fount of our knowledge. Where are our burn areas? Where are we over-resourced? What is the one big thing we want to leave our customers feeling? And how are we delivering against that? Do we have metrics that we can track that live? What can we build that makes the experience feel more complete?
Am I the only geek that enjoys this part of the puzzle?
Alexia Golez is the Senior Developer Lead at Trustev. She enjoys puzzles - like working out why she set a dangerous precedent by giving Pat Phelan a whip in this blog post.