It's not rocket science!

When you hear the words “It’s not rocket science what we are trying to do here!”, you are hearing the words of a frustrated person. When I hear this sentence in a software project, I have found the person usually means this:

  • “Why don’t the software developers just implement what the business asked them to do?”
  • “Why do we need another meeting to talk about the requirements?”
  • “Why is this taking so long?”

Talk to the software developers, they might tell you why:

  • Because they still have questions. Maybe because they only received two PowerPoint-slides and second-hand information from a project manager.
  • Because the business failed to specify all the edge cases.
  • Because business keeps changing the requirements after implementation has already started.

These are all perfect recipes for frustration.

Frustration. On both sides.

What’s the solution? There is no quick fix. A situation like this is often part of a problematic company culture. But still, you can try:

  1. Get the developers and business people to talk to each other.
  2. Agree on a “Definition of Ready” and stick to it. Don’t start implementation before you know all the requirements.
  3. Agree to not change requirements after implementation has started.
  4. Keep talking to each other.

This will be painful in the beginning, because business will be pushing hard against 2 and 3. If you don’t have management support, you are destined to fail. In that case it might be time to update your CV and start looking for a company with a more developer-friendly culture. 😀

See also