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Exploring Requirements Quote

Here is a passage from page 51 of the classic book, Exploring Requirements, by Gause and Weinberg:

[A] university dean said, "We need a way to attract more students." The dean never said why they needed more students, and each faculty member hearing the statement formed a different idea. Some thought "more students" meant getting more outstanding students. Some thought "more students" meant being able to support more teaching assistants in certain departments. Still others thought "more students" meant the dean wanting to fill the vacant dormitory space.

After arguing for months about the best way to get more students, the faculty finally learned what the dean really wanted: to create the impression in the state legislature that the school was doing a higher quality job by increasing the rejection rate of applicants, so
the university appropriation would increase. Once this goal was understood, the faculty approached a solution in several ways, none of which involved an increase in student enrollment.

Your requirements analysts or product managers aren't doing their jobs if they passively document proposed solutions as requirements.


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