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  • David Brimacome

Be careful what you ask for

Requirements: the importance of being very careful what you ask for.

This is an extended version of a short but TRUE story I posted on LinkedIn a little while ago.

It started off with a joke, but it really got me thinking about the importance of being very clear about what you ask for. I hope you enjoy the story, but also appreciate the serious nature of its message.

I was on site recently and found myself at a 'hot' desk, so I asked for a “short network cable”. The picture here shows you what I received!

Although it was very funny at the time (and we all had a good laugh) failing to be clear about your requirements is often far from a joking matter. In fact, failing to prepare clear specifications can cost big $$$ in wasted time, re-work & lost revenue opportunities. Tragically, I’ve even seen people lose their jobs.

I also heard more recently about an Australian distribution business that imported some goods from overseas that went horribly wrong.

Thousands of custom-made items were shipped; only to find upon arrival they were made 100% as per their artwork, to the extent they included superbly printed customised markings that said, “Leave this area blank”.

Taking the time to research the subject at hand, confirming the requirements with the key stakeholders, and clearly documenting the results is a very wise investment.

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