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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?"

If computers take over (which seems to be their natural tendency), it will serve us right. -- Alistair Cooke