Alan D. Goodbrand, B.Math, M.Sc., ISP, PMP

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Every once in a while I will write an article for a publication or conference, or just because I feel I have something to say and want to get it out there. Right here is where I will put those articles so anyone can access them whenever they choose.

What is Software and how is it built?

Gathering requirements for Software projects is about asking questions, potentially thousands of questions, about what the user requires. I distinctly remember the first time I was given the task of gathering software requirements. I started my career in IT as a programmer, which meant a Systems Analyst fed me specifications, I created code based on those specifications and passed it back to him. I had no direct contact with the user. I then received a promotion to a Programmer Analyst. That meant I could talk to people.

One of my first tasks upon receiving that promotion was to gather the requirements for a new Order Tracking system. It was assumed at that time that gathering requirements was an unskilled job. “How difficult can it be to find out what someone wants? All you have to do is ask”. I scheduled an interview with the user and asked one questions: “What do you want?”. They gave me lots of information which I dutifully wrote down and took back to my office. I wrote some code based on the information I received and presented it to the user. I got lots of “Where did you come up with this?” “That’s not what I asked for!” “That’s not what I want!”. So where did I go wrong. Read the entire article

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