LJ 2008-09-25 00:01:00
Most people were overjoyed, they took to their boats
I thought it less like a lake, and more like a moat
One of the various things I spend my time doing is writing requirements for “solutions”. It’s funny how I always used to think of “solution” as being a stupid word for what’s basically “software”, but these days I appreciate the difference. A solution is one or more applications and/or contracts that enable some outcome. So that might include some form of ongoing consultancy, or outsourcing. It’s kind of sad when you start to understand the reasons behind lots of business speak, and start to think that it’s a good idea…
What amuses me is that in theory, I was doing this sort of thing ten years ago, just without knowing it. I contributed to a working group that was trying to update the protocol standard (RFC) relating to Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP – effectively the backbone of Usenet). Playing around with not only contributing to the standards, but also implementing them (in what I would now consider painfully basic software), gave me a fairly deep appreciation for the level at which to pitch requirements, and the various differences between the words “must”, “should” and “could” (specifically relating to their use in requirements documents, as opposed to English definitions, which of course I did know by age 16).
This is exactly the sort of thing that I’ve been doing today – writing out sets of requirements. The solution should do this, the solution must do that, and so on. Just about any proficiency I might have at this task probably comes from a hobby that I toyed with in my teens, without ever realising that it might actually be useful experience.