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Chapter 11 October 8, 2008

Filed under: Getting Real — hikaru011 @ 12:33 pm
Tags: ,

There’s Nothing Functional about a Functional Spec

Spec documentation is a blueprint or outline. A functional spec is said that it usually wind up having nothing to do with the finish product. They are not the real thing that you’ll be working on. It is just a piece of paper so there’s no need to spend so much time and effort making this.

Don’t do Dead Documents

Build, don’t write. Do not waste time on making documents that are unnecessary. It is just a waste of time.

No One’s Going to Read It

I can’t even count how many multi-page product specifications or business requirement documents that have languished, unread, gathering dust nearby my dev team while we coded away, discussing problems, asking questions and user testing as we went. I’ve even worked with developers who’ve spent hours writing long, descriptive emails or coding standards documents that also went unread.

Webapps don’t move forward with copious documentation. Software development is a constantly shifting, iterative process that involves interaction, snap decisions, and impossible-to-predict issues that crop up along the way. None of this can or should be captured on paper.

Don’t waste your time typing up that long visionary tome; no one’s going to read it. Take consolation in the fact that if you give your product enough room to grow itself, in the end it won’t resemble anything you wrote about anyway.

Tell me a quick story

Think strategy, not tactics. When you are about to write new features or concept of a product, it is better to write a brief story about it. Avoid using technical terms and making it as an outlined document. Use common terms that anyone can understand and appreciate.

Use Real Words

Lorem Ipsum Garbage

By not having the imagination to imagine what the content “might” be, a design consideration is lost. Meaning becomes obfuscated because “it’s just text”, understandability gets compromised because nobody realized that this text stuff was actually meant to be read. Opportunities get lost because the lorem ipsum garbage that you used instead of real content didn’t suggest opportunities. The text then gets made really small, because, it’s not meant to be used, we might as well create loads of that lovely white space.

Personify your product

Think of your product as a person. Keep these traits as the product is built.


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