Some developers never speak to an actual user or business stakeholder. It’s particularly common in remote development teams in enterprise settings, unfortunately.
Developers sit in low rent satellite offices, offshore development ’centres of excellence’ and supplier silos. Yet, excellent software and delighting users is still the mandate.
When did you last see developers sitting next to users or business people, speaking daily and co-creating new features? Does this even happen outside of the smallest of startups? This style of closely coupled, co-located agile development is dead for many developers (and users, and business stakeholders by extension).
I’ve felt the term ’software requirements’ has been overshadowed by a dark cloud for a long while, but less so with agile losing its sheen and an acknowledgement that ‘placeholders for conversations’ might not be the best way to go.
Many developers aren’t sitting with users; even if they were, many wouldn’t want to or know what to do. Written communication is required, in some form or other. Developers cannot telepathically read the minds of users from afar, and I’m sorry if that sounds unpalatable to you.
Today, I launch Better Software UK, a software requirements consultancy, with the aim of drastically improving the working lives of many developers. We will provide better software requirements to development teams, and their managers, who don’t collaborate directly with end users but still need to delight them.