My OCLC colleagues at the Developer Network have begun a series of posts that already are beginning to feel like a classic set of posts. The first has tackled the issue of how to communicate your needs to software developers. And although it is written from the perspective of the person asking, I think you will find that the author does a good job of representing the developer’s side of the equation.
But it does more than that. It also sets up questions regarding motives and ways of working. Shelley Hostetler exposes our tendency to jump straight to the assumed “solution” without stepping back a bit and starting with a complete understanding of the problem. This is just human nature. But it isn’t helpful.
In the end, it’s apparent that those who need software to be developed shouldn’t be telling developers what they want. They should engage the developers in a discussion of the problem that needs to be solved, and let the solution emerge from a thorough and shared understanding of the problem. Only then can solutions that will truly solve the problem be found.