Asking the right questions

Subject: Asking the right questions
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- westnet -dot- com -dot- au>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2007 22:19:08 +0800

This is a follow-up to the "coming predominance of user experience" thread.

I can see what both John and Richard is getting at, but I think it's not
so much how many questions you ask, it's whether they're the right
questions. You get some leeway on asking questions that seem pertinent;
very little leeway on questions that seem lazy or irrelevant.

Imagine you have a sort of budget to spend on questions. If you ask a
question and the developer or SME thinks:

- Yes, I can see how that would be confusing
- I knew we should have put something about that in the spec
- You know, I didn't think of that situation

... then that sort of question costs you $5. If the interviewee thinks:

- I've already explained that to this guy twice
- It's right there in the spec
- Has he not even tried actually installing the software?

... that sort of question costs $100.

Get a reputation as someone who does the work beforehand to make sure
that, if you ask a question, it's a good one.


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