The Agile Warrior

They’re not requirements


One way agile brings immediate value to project teams, is by getting them to question the meaning of the work requirement.

Kent Beck, who put me onto this idea, says it best:

Software development has been steered wrong by the term
requirement, defined in the dictionary as something that is
mandatory or obligatory. The word carries a connotation of
absolutism and permanence, inhibitors for embracing change.
And the word ’requirement’ is just plain wrong.

Out of the thousands of pages used to describe requirements,
if you deliver the right 5, 10 or 20% you will likely realize all of
the business benefit envisioned for the whole system. So what
were the other 80%? Not requirements—they weren’t mandatory
or obligatory.

Kent Beck Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change.

It’s hard to abandon a word that has so much history behind it, but abandon it we must because the word is simply wrong.

So the next time you are gathering requirements for your project, try using the word feature instead.

This will get your customers less tied to the things they don’t need, and give you more time stuff to focus on the 10-20% that really matter.