Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Worst Practices in writing specifications...

Everything is important, but what is more important...

Bet your business analyst can't answer the above question. Is it because we are following the worst practices of CMMI and focusing on creation of comprehensive documentation while ignoring what is most important?

A flat-out specification list is not economical. This is because in reality the features actually requested are not all-or-nothing. Some are necessary and some are "nice to have". But because a specification usually makes no distinction, one will pay for features even if they are expensive to implement (and also skip features that may otherwise be cheap).

A more economical approach would use give-and-take, using a formula similar to:

rank = need / cost

This would reduce the probability of implementing expensive features that are not really needed or have cheaper alternatives. However, this also complicates the negotiation process. An all-or-nothing fixed-bid list is much easier to administer and compare across vendors/contractors and therefore the folks over in procurement help sabotage the business value proposition.

I have always found it curious why Indian outsourcing firms such as TCS, Wipro, Infosys, Satyam and Cognizant have never asked enterprises to change their model in this regard? It would only help them to deliver higher quality in that they do need to appear as buffoons who are clueless and/or overwhelmed when it comes to understanding client requirements and instead could learn and implement incrementally.

What am I missing?

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