RE: What do people work from - more

Subject: RE: What do people work from - more
From: Sean Hower <hokumhome -at- freehomepage -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2005 07:14:23 -0700 (PDT)

Partridge, Robert asked:
Is it unreasonable to expect (and ask for) a higher standard of specifications from engineers? What happened to the rigour of producing an FS, then DS and then code?

It's not unreasonable, but don't forget the environment in which engineers work (at least in the software industry). Like us, they frequently get work dumped in their lap and are given impossibly short deadlines. Add to that what I suspect is an increasing complexity in the engineering that goes into applications and you end up with an overworked individual. I'm sure that documenting the latest fire that they have to put out is the last thing on an engineer's mind, especially if there are several other fires waiting.

As for the "rigour of producing an FS, then DS, and then code." Depends on the house, but I'm willing to bet it comes down to deadlines handed down from a management that doesn't really understand what it takes to develop what they ask for. Add to this a near mania for reducing time to market and very quickly the focus shifts from producing something good (which requires the previously mentioned rigour) to producing something that is good enough and can be fixed after the product is out the door. Of course, because time to market continues its push, said fixes are put on the back burner, adding additional demands on developers and pushing those pesky specs onto an even further back burner. Based on the very little research I've done, it seems that the Agile Manifesto is a reaction to this environment. Note that I'm not putting a value judgement on any of this, I'm just offering up my own observations. I could be way off. :-)

Sean Hower - tech writer

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