Quoteworthy: Brooks on the Proper Criterion for Success


“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?

Quoteworthy: William Strunk – Vigorous Writing is Concise

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.

William Strunk Jr.

Quoteworthy: Hunt & Thomas – Don't Repeat Yourself

Every piece of knowledge must have a single, unambiguous, authoritative representation within a system. The alternative is to have the same thing expressed in two or more places. If you change one, you have to remember to change the others… It isn’t a question of whether you’ll remember: it’s a question of when you will forget.

– A. Hunt and D. Thomas on the “DRY principle” (don’t repeat yourself) from The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master

I might add that the same applies for documentation! – JB