Thursday, 24 April 2014

DO YOU UNDERSTAND?


How well do you understand a requirement? More importantly How well do you understand a requirement when it is only documented? How well do you understand a requirement when no discussions have happened on it? Do you compare your initial understandings to the final outcome? Do you find a difference in what you thought and what is was meant to be?

Today I wish to touch base on a critical element that we experience in the day to day work. In one of the product development cycles we received a clarification from our team, on a feature request from one of our customer saying "I don't think it should delete the document". Now while I would want you to continue reading this, why don't you just take a pencil and scribble what does the statement mean and you can refer to it later. The developer chose to build the feature around the clarification and the outcome was deleting a document by said process was not possible. A few days later this came in as a bug from the same customer saying "There is a bug", iterations happened,  O Fish. Our iterations increased and we ended up throwing things at each other and who said what. A few moments into this we read through the statement again and realized we can fairly derive different meanings depending on which word we stress.

I don't think it should delete the document.
Meaning : Others do/may think that it should delete the document.

I dont think it should delete the document.
Meaning: It is not true that I think it should delete the document.

I don't think it should delete the document.
Meaning: I am not sure if it should delete the document.

I don't think it should delete the document.
Meaning: Maybe it should delete something else?

Go on and you would realize, what you thought about it, may or may not be same as you scribbled, depending on the word stressed. 

But then how would you understand which word is stressed, specially when it is written? What do you do to ensure you don't build a minaret instead of a hut?

Communication plays an important role and no "QUESTION" is not an answer to it, You may end up questioning every sentence killing the whole thing called "Intelligence". A few ways to sort this out:

1. Brainstorm : A group discussion would always help you understand the right meaning.

2. Read - UNREAD - RE-READ : Many don't know how to do this. But I am sure you have played "Find the Path" game that usually shows up in newspapers? Once you find the path, the next time doing the same is not very difficult. It means your brain gets used to making or building that pattern. Un-reading is wiping off the previous understanding and reading it from a fresh perspective.

3. Communicate : Remember the stages of communication. CONFIRM is one of them.

4. Ask : Just DON'T ASK. Also share what you think.

5. Don't stick to it : Once clarified, get used to the new perspective. IF YOU STICK to what you think is RIGHT. You are going to dig a grave for yourself and others.

Now while I wont keep barging about this, I would let you stress each word in the sentence that you see in the picture linked to the post and comment with the meanings. Enjoy UNDERSTANDING.