Someone (famous?) once said that a good strategy to employ to ensure that you get something done is to publicize what you’re going to do for all to see:
As you can see, my new found friend, multi-book author Jon M. Quigley (check out his books at Value Transformation LLC), proposed, and I accepted, a collaborative effort to write a book on the topic of product requirements. D’oh!
Why the “D’oh!”? As you might guess, there are a bazillion “requirements” books already out there in the wild. Here is just a sampling of some of those that I have access to via my safaribooksonline.com account:Of course, I haven’t read them all, but I have read both of Mr. Wiegers’s books and the Hatley/Hruschka book – all very well done. I’ve also read two great requirements books (not on the above list) by my favorite software author of all time, Mr. Gerry Weinberg: “Exploring Requirements” and “Are Your Lights On?“.
Jon and I would love to differentiate our book from the current crop – some of which are timeless classics. It’s not that we expect to eclipse the excellence of Mr. Weinberg or Mr. Wiegers, we’re looking for a niche. Perhaps a “Head First” or “Dummies” approach may satisfy our niche “requirement” :). Got any ideas?
Uncertain: Not able to be relied on; not known or definite
Every spiritual book I’ve ever read advises its readers to learn to become comfortable with “uncertainty” because “uncertainty is all there is“. BD00 agrees with this sage advice because fighting with reality is not good for the psyche.
Ambiguity, on the other hand, is a related but different animal. It’s not open-ended like its uncertainty parent. Ambiguity is the next step down from uncertainty and it consists of a finite number of choices; one of which is usually the best choice in a given context. The perplexing dilemma is that the best choice in one context may be the worst choice in a different context. D’oh!
Many smart people that I admire say things like “learn to be comfortable with ambiguity“, but BD00 is not onboard with that approach. He’s not comfortable with ambiguity. Whenever he encounters it in his work or (especially) in the work of others that his work depends on for progressing forward, he doggedly tries to resolve it – with whatever means available.
The main reason behind BD00’s antagonistic stance toward ambiguity is that ambiguity doesn’t compile – but the code must compile for progress to occur. Thus, if ambiguity isn’t consciously resolved between the ambiguity creator (ambiguator) and the ambiguity implementer (ambiguatee) before slinging code, it will be unconsciously resolved somehow. To avoid friction and perhaps confrontation between ambiguator and ambiguatee (because of differences in stature on the totem pole?), an arbitrary and “undisclosed” decision will be made by the implementer to get the code to compile and progress to occur- most likely leading to functionally incorrect code and painful downstream debugging.
So, BD00’s stance is to be comfortable with uncertainty but uncomfortable with ambiguity. Whenever you encounter the ambiguity beast, consciously attack it with a vengeance and publicly resolve it ASAP with all applicable stakeholders.