Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Response to Sticky Minds article

I wrote this in response to an article on Agile Documentation on StickyMinds - it will make more sense if you read the article first (Agile Documentation).

(Truth in responding - I work for Rational and for many years was a DOORS Principal Consultant)
I wholeheartedly agree with the principles behind what you write here. A well-written requirements document is not just a 300-page lump of paper, it is structured to make things easy to find and with a narrative to make it easy to follow. Unfortunately, when writing specifications people forget everything they ever learnt about writing.
An advantage of a document over a Wiki is that it has that structure - so it becomes fairly easy to see where an area is noticeably heavier (or lighter) than others - particularly important when some areas have regulatory importance. Of course, a tool is even better - and there is no excuse for these things, whether in word processors or requirements tools, to be out of date. Even a simple system should be no harder to maintain than a Wiki. I get quite cross when I hear people say things like "you can't use DOORS for agile". Of course you can! It's just a repository, you can use it how you like.
I posted something on my internal IBM blog about (apparent) false dichotomies in the agile manifesto and have now added it here (scroll down to the section on Working software over comprehensive documentation)

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