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In Software Requirements, the Details DO Matter

The recent sad news about Steve Jobs made me remember an interesting article that made its way around our office. It’s about how even as CEO of Apple; Steve had passion and attention to detail. You can find the article here.

In eliciting software requirements, it’s the details that matter the most. It’s the details that help make a software product great, instead of just good. It’s the details that the development team needs to have, in order to transform the vision into reality.

Because the details are so important, our methodology uses a lot of different models to try and find and understand the details. By looking at the requirements in several different ways, details are found and noted. We care about the details and strive to find them all.

But as we all know, the devil is in the details. They can be a pain to document, to update, to trace, to ensure that they are all there. Paying attention to the details can mean grunt work…going through line items one by one to make sure that all necessary changes are made. It can mean reviews with people to get different eyes on the work products, to find things that you missed. It can also mean being humble when you did miss something…we are human and far from perfect!  It’s OK to miss something, thank the person who found the hole, and make the necessary change.

We take attention to detail so much to heart, that we look for it in our recruiting process. We want people who are detailed oriented. It’s OK if you are not, but then we want to pair you with someone who is. If you are not detail oriented…own it. Don’t pretend that you are.

So the next time you get to that stage in your project where you are working through the details…remind yourself that this is the point in the project that can make your product great!

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