Re: Customer Not Always Right LO2269

Eric Bohlman (
Sat, 29 Jul 1995 12:07:41 -0700 (PDT)

Replying to LO2245 --

> Ahhh. That's a dandy. I've been in similar situations. Customers or
> potential ones who are not quite sure of themselves, generate spuriously
> concrete requirements, to prove that they know what they're doing. Then
> the consultant (or group), also uncertain of itself, takes the "safe"
> path of construing these requirements as literally as possible.
> Now _there's_ a feedback loop for you! Aren't both parties led to
> disaster by their fear of the "spirit" as opposed to the "letter" of an
> undertaking?
> How can a requirement for ten layers of breakout originate in the first
> place except by somebody's deliberate and wilful act of NOT thinking.
> I've come to believe that "NOT thinking about it" is the most ubiquitous
> sin of all. More common than all the seven deadliest together.
> --
> Regards
> Jim Michmerhuizen

My hunch is that in many cases, overly detailed requirements documents
are the result of too many layers of management, each of which has
someone who has to sign off on the document regardless of whether they
really have anything to do with the project. The result is that each
person in the chain feels that he (it's usually a he) has to make some
change to it in order to be seen as "really working." The mechanism is
probably the same one that accounts for the large number of classified
government documents; the people in charge of classifying feel that they
have to classify stuff simply to validate their jobs' existence.

Eric Bohlman (