The Recipe for Success in Cooking…up Software Requirements

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I love to cook. In fact, I try to cook every meal except for breakfast and lunch (I have an aversion to eating leftovers and cereal requires no cooking). With my many years of experience cooking dinner, I believe that I am quite versed in creating a set number of dishes. However, the problem that I constantly face is when I haven’t created the dish in a couple of months. I try to recall from memory which ingredients I need and in what order I am supposed to cook the food. Unfortunately, since my mind can only reference a certain amount of information at that time, I usually end up with an incomplete recipe. If I’m lucky, I do get the entire recipe, yet I still feel like I don’t have all of the ingredients!

My failure at recording recipes has eventually led me to the conclusion that maybe it is about time for me to start writing down all the ingredients and the steps I need to create a dish. Simple, right? I’m sure that no one can really deny the fact that making a dish is much easier to execute when given simple, concise, and immutable instructions. Is this just me, or is this starting to sound a little like software requirements???

What I find interesting about recipes is how they only list what you absolutely need. Just like in software requirements gathering and management, we try to help the customer determine what they actually need for their recipe. Chances are, our stakeholders already have their own recipe for success, but they cannot recall all of the ingredients; or maybe they do, but they do not know or “feel” like they have all of the ingredients. With all of this information floating around, it is important for us to bound the information by helping them create a “list” of ingredients in which they are really interested. From there, we can help them devise their recipe.

Has there ever been a time where you strongly felt that a “recipe” would have been great for your project?

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