Faster horse

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
― Henry Ford

A trap I have seen numerous times is building exactly what the users ask for! That’s because it can be difficult to separate requirements from design.

Here is an illustration

The user requests ” I need a new report to get XYZ from the system,”

On first appearances this request may seem entirely sensible but with a little analysis, it may turnout the report is only needed because something is missing from the UI.

The real requirement is “I need a piece of data” The solution could be a report, but it could also be enhancing the UI.

Clearly there is a difference between the users request and the actual requirement, and the business analyst needs to be able to separate the two. I sometimes think of requirements as outcomes, it’s not how it is achieved but what is achieved.

This illustration was only a small enhancement to an existing system but this trap can spring on a much larger scale.

Posted in Principals, Requirements