Many organizations segregate their programmers and testers in order to achieve independent validation of requirements.  If the system is tested according to an independent interpretation of the requirements than used for implementation, then errors in those interpretations may be detected.

This course of action is obviously prudent when the requirements are handed down to the development organization in the form of a document.It does not, of course, detect errors in the requirements document itself. Nor does it detect errors of interpretation if both the programmers and the testers read the requirements in the same, incorrect way. When there is significant distance between writer and readers, this is distressingly common.

It’s difficult work to write clearly in prose. Publishing industries have developed the roles of editor and proofreader to check documents so that erroneous or unclear segments may be rewritten before they’re seen by potential readers. People who write requirements documents are frequently better versed in the desired functionality than in the process of writing them. And, they frequently don’t have so much help.

It’s also difficult to precisely interpret the writings of others, particularly of people you don’t know. A word may have an obvious and precise meaning in the context of the business, but an obvious and different meaning in the context of software development. In the fields of literature and law, expert interpreters may spend years or centuries honing a consensus interpretation of the written word. In software development, we rarely have time for lengthy discussion of complicated passages. If the writing is ambiguous or contradictory, faithful interpretation of the intent is even less certain.

We often seek clarification of the requirements to back up our reading of the document. Sometimes it’s difficult to get sufficient access to the document authors, and the programmers and testers may turn to each other for what clarification they each offer. I’ve had testers from a different company ask me how my software was supposed to work because they had insufficient access to the requirements document author.

Cross-checking the interpretation of programmers and testers punches holes in the wall of independence, of course. This sad state of affairs is a major source of defects in which the software “works as designed” but not as desired.

We can do better than this!

Instead of the business representative writing the requirements and handing them off as a document, imagine the business representative telling them to a programmer and tester (everyone taking notes as needed to keep things from being forgotten). Imagine the programmer and tester testing their understanding in real time with questions made directly to the business representative while things are still fresh on everyone’s mind. In doing so, they can not only challenge each others interpretation of the requirements, but also the assumptions of the business representative. Together they can hone the requirements to a sharper edge than possible when working separately.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts

In The Zone with Marcin Zasepa

Welcome to the second in our new series, ‘in the zone’, a collection of conversations with CTO’s within the CTO Zone community. Each week we’ll be discussing the latest trends, insights gained from there experiences, and future predictions for their industry. This week we’d like to welcome Marcin Zasepa, CTO at Homegate AG in Switzerland. Every episode will be approximately 30 minutes

Read More »

In The Zone with Sasha Bilton

Welcome to the first in our new series, ‘in the zone’, a collection of conversations with CTO’s within the CTO Zone community. Each week we’ll be discussing the latest trends, insights gained from there experiences, and future predictions for their industry. This week we’d like to welcome Sasha Bilton. Every episode will be approximately 30 minutes long, and we aim

Read More »

Case Study: DAZN Data Engineering

Find out how 101 Ways helped DAZN improve their existing data warehouse as well as planning and setting the foundations of the new cloud-based data platform. Click here to download the full case study. Get in touch with a member of the 101 Ways team if you would like to discuss ways in which we can help you and your company

Read More »

Search the Blog

Agile Management Made Easy!

All About Agile

By Kelly Waters

“’Agile’ is one of the biggest buzzwords of the last decade. Agile methods often come across as rather more complicated than they really are. This book is an attempt to unravel that complexity. To simplify the concepts. This book breaks the concepts into small bite-sized pieces that are easy to understand and easy to implement and delivers the message in a friendly and conversational style. Allaboutagile.com is one of the most popular blogs about agile on the web. ”

Kelly Waters

Agile 101 is available to purchase. GAME ON!

Agile 101

Emma Hopkinson-Spark

“Whilst there are lots of ways you can vary the game depending on the teams you have and the learning outcomes you want, the basic flow of the game play is common to all.”
Emma Hopkinson-Spark

Why did we make the game?

How to play the game?

London

101 Ways Limited
41 Corsham Street
London
N1 6DR
United Kingdom

Manchester

101 Ways Limited
No.1 Spinningfields
Quay Street
Manchester
M3 3JE
United Kingdom

Amsterdam

101 Ways BV
Weesperstraat 61-105
1018 VN Amsterdam
Netherlands

Contact Us

If you would like to get in touch with one of the team at 101 Ways, then please fill out the form below or email us at contact-us@101ways.com.