May, 2011

There are No Reliable Words

To write or even speak English is not a science but an art. There are no reliable words. Whoever writes English is involved in a struggle that never lets up even for a sentence. He is struggling against vagueness, against obscurity, against the lure of the decorative adjective, against the encroachment of Latin and Greek, and, above all, against the worn-out phrases and dead metaphors with which the language is cluttered up.”
— George Orwell

The Business Analyst’s “Other Customer”

We know that the business stakeholders whose needs we elicit and capture as requirements are our customers. We know that the sponsor who foots the bill for our work is our customer. Often, product end-users are considered customers. We don’t typically think of designers, developers and QA analysts – our delivery team counterparts – as customers, but maybe we should.

Quoteworthy: Brooks on the Proper Criterion for Success

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“If we perceive our role aright, we then see more clearly the proper criterion for success: a toolmaker succeeds as, and only as, the users of his tools succeed with his aid. However shining the blade, however jeweled the hilt, however perfect the heft, a sword is tested only by cutting.”

Fred Brooks

This is a particularly interesting quote when we consider our deliverables as analysts as tools to be used by designers, developers and QA analysts. The measure for our success is, in truth, inseparable from the success of those that use our work to accomplish theirs.

Sure, there are lots of benchmarks and checklists for the forms and aesthetics of good requirements documentation, but what is the benefit of meeting those criteria if we don’t put our delivery team members in a position to succeed?

With that in mind, how successful a toolmaker are you? In what ways could you improve so as to help those who will use what you produce be more successful?