Bad Developer, No Twinkie Part 9: Not asking for clear specifications

As a software developer, it is your job to build the right thing.  If you don’t know what the right thing is, and you’ve already started coding, you’re doing it wrong.*

Before you even consider opening your favourite IDE,  you need to know what you are building.  Part of this is dealing with other people, and getting clear specifications on what it is you are building.  If you fail to get clear specifications, it’s your own fault.

Specifications can be as simple as:

  • It must allow a user to select x, y, or z.
  • It must run in under 10 seconds.
  • It must work for multiple users at the same time.

This seems like one of the most basic tenants of developing anything, but we still do this far too often.  You don’t see a construction worker start by ordering a load of lumber or bricks unless he’s got the blueprints in hand.

* The exception being when you are mucking around and prototyping stuff.  It’s fine to play around with code for your own sake.

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