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RE: New position myself - need advice on requirements
Subject:RE: New position myself - need advice on requirements From:Kevin McLauchlan <kmclauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com> To:'Keith Hood' <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com>, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com Date:Wed, 25 Apr 2007 10:51:28 -0400
> I just started on a new contract, and am already
> parts of the
> system will basically just be moved to Java from C++.
> The developers are so familiar with the functioning of
> the existing systems they refer to them as prototypes
> for the one under development.
> So, any advice on how to proceed at this point? The IT
> director wants to finish the BRs first off, and soon,
> because the higher-ups are clamoring for them. I'd be
> especially interested in getting advice in how to
> shape requirements for reading by high level execs as
> opposed to reading by software shop code bashers.
Gee, I guess I have it bass-ackwards.
I would have thought that the BUSINESS REQUIREMENTS (sorry for shouting) are
developed by the people who... oh... you know.... SET THEM!!
Those, by the way, would be Product Managers and Biz-development honchos who
have been researching the market, dealing with customers, ascertaining their
needs and wants, and determining what a new product/version must have/do in
order to fly.
The only way a tech writer should be writing Business Requirements is if
s/he has been living in the pocket(s) of the Product Managers and Biz-dev
people and writing said documents while closely attending the meetings and
discussions by which those requirements actually gelled in the minds of
those who actually have the authority and responsibility to do so. Well,
actually the writer might more likely work from notes and meeting minutes
created by those people... but they are the source, not the techwriter.
It seems that you weren't there "when" that process occurred, and it further
seems that maybe that process didn't actually happen. So you have no source
If they are laying all that responsibility on you, teach 'em all a lesson.
Write up a plausible-sounding set of biz-related requirements, but be sure
to include a hover mode and parsec-traversal function.
Now, if the previous writer has a directory full of meeting notes and e-mail
trails from the folks who ALREADY SET the business requirements, then you do
have a starting point to build a document. Quickly send out an e-mail
announcing that you've discovered "partial" notes and will be investigating
with "stakeholders" (always a good buzzword) to determine where the gaps are
and what should go in 'em.
Above all, manage expectations.
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