from the needed-before-a-single-line-of-code-is-written dept.
spiffcow asks: "I design internal software for users that are largely computer-illiterate, and obtaining accurate specs for these programs has become a huge challenge. In the most recent instance, I asked for detailed specs on what an accounting program should do (i.e. accounting rules, calculation methods, and so forth), and received a Word document mock-up of an input screen, complete with useless stickers. This seems to be the norm around here. When I asked my boss (the head Sales manager) for specs, he responded saying that it was my responsibility to determine what was needed. How do I convey to the users that, in order to develop the software they want, I need detailed, accurate specs?"
"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not
Compute' -- I forget which."
-- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982