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Sue Gallagher said:
> When I first started in the software industry in 1983,
> I heard the president of my company mention that as a
> novel new approach that someone, somewhere, was trying.
> ...while I've heard it mentioned occasionally, I've never
> seen it even tried. Stories about companies who've done
> it are urban legend, I'm convinced.
Mathematica is sometimes cited as having done this:
> We are encouraged by the way Steven Wolfram did Mathematica ...
> he wrote and published the entire user manual, then made the
> development team make the software work the way the manual
> said it did ...
If this is true it's probably a special case. Wolfram was the company
founder, CEO and resident genius, so he would have had more authority to
frame the design spec as a draft user reference and make it stick. Few
software tech writers would be in a similar position.