Flashback: A Year Ago This Week on Tyner Blain [2006-06-16]

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A look back at the best from a year ago.

Writing Unambiguous Requirements

rule 7 of writing requirements

One of the ten big rules of writing a good MRD is writing unambiguous requirements. Ambiguity is a function of communication. The writing can be generically ambiguous, or ambiguous to the writer. A requirement could be precise in intent, but ambiguous in interpretation by the reader. Understanding our audience is as important as precision in language. We write unambiguous requirements because misinterpretation of requirements is the source of 40% of all bugs in delivered software.

Writing Verifiable Requirements

rule 8 of writing requirements

One of the ten big rules of writing a good MRD is writing verifiable requirements. Verification is both a function of having a precise goal, and having the ability to affordably measure the requirement. A precise goal is a verifiable requirement if we can clearly answer “yes” or “no” when asked if the requirement has been implemented. We also face the practical realities of being able to measure the results profitably.

Writing Atomic Requirements

rule 9 of writing requirements

One of the ten big rules of writing a good MRD is writing atomic requirements. Just as verifiable requirements must be concretely measurable as having been met or not, so must atomic requirements. If a requirement has multiple elements that can be implemented separately, it is not atomic.

Writing Passionate Requirements

rule 10 of writing requirements

One of the ten big rules of writing a good MRD is writing passionate requirements. What in the world is a passionate requirement [they were all wondering]? When you believe in the product, are committed to the work, and aren’t bored, you can write passionately. The goal of a requirement is to create sustained understanding. A dry document can create understanding, but an engaging document will sustain it.

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