My mother’s not going to read that

Old woman reading a bibleThere is a tendency to expect my mother to be able to read and understand all sorts of things. Everyone around me seem to expect her to read what they write.

Only, she won’t.

Can she read? Well, if you are reading this or any of my posts, it is a legitimate question. So quite surprisingly the answer is yes. She can. Even write!

Can she read English? Well, me living in Wales and her being an EEECME (ex-eastern-European-come-middle-eastern) it is again a legitimate question. To which the surprising answer is again yes. She actually taught English.

And her eye-glasses are quite new and shiny.

So why isn’t she going to read all these fancy documents my colleagues and peers write and expect her to read?

The answer is simple – because she doesn’t want to. And because she doesn’t care about software design. And because she’d rather go pool-exercising with her pensioner friends. And because there are another million reasons for her not to read these documents.

Getting jiggy with it

I, on the other hand, don’t go pool-exercising with any of my mum’s pensioner friends. And I do have to read these documents. Not because I want to but because I need to. It is my job to read those documents. I need to produce working software from them.

So I want to lay down some rules

  1. My mother is not going to read this, so a certain level of knowledge is a prerequisite. So forget about my mother and think about who needs to read this.
  2. If I’d want to read something interesting and with a plot I’d pick up a real book. Don’t try to impress anyone with your ability to write long and complex sentences, to create suspense.
  3. Don’t give me the history of everything. I don’t care how and why we got here.
  4. Do keep it short and simple. Don’t specify everything to the nth degree. If something is very complicated – give me rules. Preferably – just one.
  5. I am not a miner. I don’t want to dig for requirements. I want them to stand out. In a box if you want. With colours.

Five rules ain’t much, is it? And I do think I am being reasonable. Any specification has levels. And those levels fit different times of the specification life-cycle and the intended audience.

Now I am tempted to define how I think it should all work. But I’ll skip this. I believe any organisation needs to do what is good for it, as long as they don’t expect my mother to read anything


About snailonabike
I cycle, I run, I live, I have a family, I write code for a living, I have an opinion

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