What matters at AUT: requirements

Getting lost often means going around in circles. For me, unless my faith helps people in practical ways, then it is not worth sharing, is it? This post is one I have been meaning to write up for a while…

August 16th, 2018

I spent an hour with two students (who I do not supervise) today who were a bit lost. They were trying to define the software requirements for their final computer development project. It all seemed too big, too scary, too confusing to them. They had been knocked-back by their supervisor when they submitted their first proposal and were going in little circles when they decided today to go “Stop…let’s see if Badger is free….

We found a meeting room and broke each piece of information they had down using Psalm 119:105:

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light on my path...”.

How does that apply? In Agile Software Development, we teach students that getting the “big picture” for a piece of software is hard, but that it is not impossible if they learn to make sense of it iteratively. They only need to see the next steps and be sure that that they are still on the path (i.e. not off the edges of the path in the mud…).

Once they step forward knowing the first bits of information, they can then flesh-out the next pieces, step-by-step. The lamp does not shine all the way to the end of the road and guess what…it does not need to

I keep a supply of treats in my laboratory for meetings just like this. We chomped through several small Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate Bars, but I think we made a little progress….<smile>

I love this stuff.

p.s. one of the students caught me a few days later… they had re-submitted their proposal and got it approved … I love this stuff..

Author: Rockweather

I am a writer, musician, teacher, and researcher at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in Auckland, New Zealand.

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