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Something struck me as I was sitting and watching the convention speeches over the past couple of weeks… politics is a lot like the software business.

Sounds crazy? Let me break down my reasoning by drawing some analogies:

Political Parties (Vendors) – Develop products to sell based on their own ideas and their market analysis.

Candidates (Products) –
Products are designed to satisfy various market segments. There are enterprise solutions (presidential candidates), small business solutions (congressional candidates) and products designed for home users (state and local candidates).

Voters (Users) –
Users select products based on their needs and on their perceptions of the quality of the available products.

Elections (RFPs) –
Every so often, a customer will release a RFP for a product. Sometimes, the RFP is to evaluate a product for replacement, sometimes the product becomes obsolete (term limits).

Proposals (Campaigns) –
Vendors respond to the RFP with a proposal to fulfill the requirements of the voters.

Issues (Requirements) –
The user community has certain requirements that they need to have satisfied by the chosen product.

Over the course of this process, the vendors make tweaks and present their products in different ways to respond to the feedback of the users (polls) in order to try to influence the buying decision. Just as in a software project, the shifting features and presentations can begin to make it difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff. How do we, as voters, make this important decision?

Fortunately, in the requirements community, we have exactly the right tools to make this choice easy for us. In part two, I’ll discuss how we can apply requirements management techniques to do exactly that…

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