Specifications are good, yes. But I disagree that
they can (or should) never be changed. Customers typically
don't know everything developers or technology can
accomplish that they can exactly describe what they want,
and developers rarely know enough of a customer's
business process to explain how the final product will look
and act. (There is plenty of ego on both sides that screw
things up: customers think they know what the best
technology to use is and developers think they can
re-engineer a customer's business process.)
Both are (IMO) best served by a process marked by
short iteration periods and involvement by all parties
(customers, developers and mangers) at all stages. As
tilly pointed out this is one of the fundamental tenets
of XP. I'm only about halfway through the recent book
Extreme Programming, but it's done a good job so far
of pointing out trouble areas and describing the discipline
necessary on everyone's part to make an iterative
The projects I've been involved with where we tried to
figure out everything necessary for the entire project at
the beginning never did well because nobody (including me)
appreciated the power of change.
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