Is Documentation Fundamentally Flawed?

Whoa! I’m risking losing some of my Business Analyst friends here!

But wait, what exactly is it we’re trying to do here in our jobs as producers of useful software? We want our customers to feel comfortable using our software, we want the software to be functional, we want it delivered in the shortest possible time.

I once started a software project a few years  ago and the analyst gave me a 300 page specification! It would have taken me at least two weeks to read it, and another week to reread it and understand it.

Why was it so long? Was the Analyst trying to prove something? Was he paid by the word?  Or was he trying to justify his position as if the bigger the document the more secure he felt in his job and, therefore, happy that he was providing a quality service.

The fact is that if the Specification was 5 pages long, it would have taken him a fraction of the time to write, it would be easier to understand, I would have started sooner and the project would have been finished sooner.

Take a quick read of this blog post to see what I mean.

The quote from Agile 2012 says it all,

“We don’t need an accurate document, we need a shared understanding”

Maybe we should think about the things we don’t need to do and remove them, rather than making up more?

Maybe software is only finished when we’ve removed the unnecessary?

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