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Programming

Submission + - How to get accurate specs?

spiffcow writes: "So here's my story... I'm the only programmer at a language interpretation company. I design internal software for users are largely computer-illiterate, and obtaining accurate specs for these programs has become a huge challenge. In the most recent instance, I asked for detailed specs on what an accounting program should do (i.e. accounting rules, calculation methods, etc.), and received a Word document mockup of an input screen, complete with stickers of cartoon monkeys. This seems to be the norm around here. When I asked my boss (the head Sales manager) for specs, he responded saying that it was my responsibility to determine what was needed. So my question is this: how do I convey to the users that, in order to develop the software they want, I need detailed, accurate specs. Oh, and as a side note, how do I explain to people that the title "Software developer" does not entail providing technical support for the copy machine?"

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