Un-embellished Prose

In authoring software requirements, there is very little room for embellishing prose. When I read requirements that contain embellishments like adjectives or adverbs, I often think that each embellishment represents a requirement that has not been completely articulated.

For example, when I read a requirement that has words like "robust", "complete", "performant", "responsive", or my favorites "user friendly" and "intuitive", my instant reaction is "What do you mean by that?".

Every one of these words in a requirement, should be qualified by one or more requirements that explain what it means to be robust, performant, etc.

The greatest likelihood is that all project participants will have opinions about what these words mean, but without qualifying them, each person is allowed to believe that they understand, without actually agreeing or coming to consensus.

I challenge you to read your next requirements document, and circle all of the adjectives or adverbs, and ask "What did the author mean by that?" That might be a great way to start a review for a draft of software requirements.

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