Reading my feeds this morning, there’s another well-written (but borderline obtuse) article from Rands about what he’s calling “Malcolm Events” — those seemingly inconsequential details in the course of a project that you have to capture and make common knowledge in your group (nee, your whole organization) — or you are screwed.
You have to read the article, but I’m going to cherry pick a quote that I found particular useful:
A well-written specification will document all of your details, but do you have time to write and maintain specifications? I don’t. I’m coming up on a decade and a half of working at fairly successful companies and I can count the number of useful specifications I’ve read on two hands. Really.
The issue isn’t that specifications are a bad idea, it’s that they are time-consuming and, remember, we’re in a hurry.
It’s semi-orthogonal to the whole post, so I’d recommend reading the whole thing. You’ll probably have to two or three times (or just a good read once — My speed-reading techniques don’t work on Rands posts — it’s like watching Studio 60 — you have to pay attention the whole time)
Incidentally, my favorite quote from Jurassic Park is this one:
“I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here: it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could and before you even knew what you had you patented it and packaged it and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you’re selling it, you want to sell it!”