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Requirements Gathering

Are you paying attention to the Domain?

I was once asked which is better? A watch that won’t run or a watch that always shows the wrong time. The former is better because at least twice a day it would be showing the right time if you did look at it then!

People in a manufacturing setup at least know their domain very well. What is IT domain? Straight off I can hear, project management, SCM, developing, testing etc. I will drawl and agree. However if we believe IT is only an enabler then it is important to know how business problems can be addressed using IT.

Are we doing the right thing by way of learning domain? My preliminary talks with various people indicates it is not so. Either I have been talking to the wrong set of people or I am sadly right. As a developer usually we are constrained by a use case and we stick to the minutiae of the letter in the document and miss the business world.  As a business analyst our only focus is to clarify and communicate to the extent required no further. As a tester we are bound by the test case and no more.

A car company’s forecasting model for their cars cannot show fractional cars. This is obvious and simple. However when it was pointed out the defending argument was “well the use case does not specify that”. Right take the use case writer over red-hot coals, but hey what were you doing?

Remember 16/64 gives the right answer by knocking of the common digit 6. Logical yes. Correct? No. (BTW there is another example of similar nature).

In the end what you take with you is the business aspects of the work. Do the right thing by domain. Unlike the manufacturing counterpart you have an opportunity to learn more than one domain. Today it is airlines, tomorrow could be healthcare. Are you still not convinced?

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “Are you paying attention to the Domain?

  1. True about learning multiple domains..you will be a generalist in domain and specialist in your IT skills.

    Posted by MAHADEVAN | August 17, 2012, 10:05 am
  2. Random thoughts as I read the blog

    – IT isn’t a domain. It is a skill. And it is moving towards being a “utility”.
    – Business Analysis is grossly misunderstood.
    – The fractional-car example would not have cleared QA where the BA was involved in ensuring user requirements were being met.
    – Is the thrust of your argument that IT folks should not worry about Domain, or vice-versa? Sorry, got lost in my own random thoughts at some point. 🙂
    – Agree with Mahadevan. Very true for the “generalists”.

    Posted by Sandeep | August 17, 2012, 2:55 pm
    • My point was the one relating to ‘vice-versa’. My point being that if the BA missed the int() specification the developer should catch and not stick to the specification. Yes it does seem we are expecting a Swiss Army knife avatar from all. But in the end to me that what seems to matter. It brings us to the eternal question – necessary knowledge versus knowledge.

      Posted by eswarann | August 17, 2012, 3:01 pm

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