I felt guilty throughout much of the mid-1990s. I was working for a company that was acquiring about one new company each year. Every time we’d buy a new company I would be assigned to run their software development group. And each of the acquired development groups came with glorious, beautiful, lengthy requirements documents. I inevitably felt guilty that my own groups were not producing such beautiful requirements specifications. Yet, my groups were consistently far more successful at producing software than were the groups we were acquiring.

I knew that what we were doing worked. Yet I had this nagging feeling that if we’d write big, lengthy requirements documents we could be even more successful. After all, that was what was ...

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