In the July/August issue of IEEE Software, Neil Maiden argues that requirements people are Spocks –that is, they are free of emotion and controlled by logic. He explains, “[Requirements people] are thorough. They are precise. They are logical. Their processes, techniques, and tools stress structured processes such as specification, analysis, and validation. They are, to be blunt, Vulcans.”
The challenge, according to Maiden, is that while requirements people are unemotional, requirements work is emotional. All work projects have an emotional element. What is your response when someone requests a change you don’t agree with? It’s usually one driven by emotion.
Beyond that, the end users and stakeholders for a project operate predominantly as Kirks – driven by emotion. Maiden states, “Sure [stakeholders want requirements people] to deliver solutions to their requirements, but they also want positive emotional responses to these solutions that go beyond mere functionality.” So, it is key for requirements people to consider emotions in order to please those who will interact with the final product.
Maiden’s metaphor is a sound one, but it is not always an easy task for Spocks to understand and design for Kirks. What do you think? What can requirements people do to learn from the Kirks and connect with the emotional side of the job?
While the article is not available online, I recommend seeking out a hard copy; it’s worth a read!