Requirements & ambiguity

There is a great post on requirements defined called, "The art and science of disambiguation," that illustrates how easily it is for ambiguity to find its way into requirements. Even the most simple of statements can be misconstrued due to differences in perceptions of people.

That post fits well with my own post called Bad Practices - Part I - Ambiguity. Ways that you can counter ambiguity include:

  1. Use active listening techniques to rephrase (in your own words) what you have heard back to the individual providing the information. If your client agrees, there is no ambiguity. If your client does not agree, you have the opportunity to eliminate any miscommunication and misconceptions by additional probing or questioning.
  2. Use a common lexicon or establish a common context that can be used so that both you and your clients start on the same page. This may include avoiding the use of internal acronyms. Also, no jargon please.
  3. Improve your listening skills. This post on Tyner Blain provides some tips.

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