Who, What, When, Where, Why —- How?

If you have children or grandchildren like me, you’ve probably heard these questions on multiple children’s TV shows where the characters set off to solve some incredible mystery. They ask these questions to figure it out.   One of the shows, I think The Electric Company, has a very cute song that repeats these questions over and over as the characters work to figure out the mystery. I chose to not research this and verify which show it actually is.  I never want to hear that song again, since this is one of those songs that when it gets in your head, you can’t get it out.  If you listen closely, you can hear it playing in my head right now. 

In fact, it is so embedded in my brain, that when I was reading a series of white papers on how to gather and manage system requirements, it immediately popped into my head.

Here’s what triggered it. 

Good requirements need to be concise and specific, and should answer the question, ‘what do we need?’ Rather than, ‘how do we fulfill a need?’”*

This requirements gathering advice is not new, been around almost as long as I have.  Even kid’s know about it, except they really need to leave off the “how”.  The who, what, when, where, and why are right on target though.

This approach is so fundamental, that all the good requirements documenting practices and tools don’t matter, if the requirement is constrained by how that requirement is to be fulfilled.

If you are looking for someone who is a proficient in asking what and why, and will steer you away from the pre-conceived how, contact Archetype SC.   We’ll design and build your new system focused on what you need to accomplish your business objectives, not how you do things today.

 * Requirements Management 101, White Paper published by Jama Software

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