Defect or a Feature — Choose your user requirements


Bloglet subscribers saw two posts from me Friday. They saw the post I published *and* the post I saved as a draft. Surprised me.

Since I know about this feature, I'll work around it, and compose future drafts somewhere else. This isn't a big-deal problem for me. But it was a surprise, and a defect for me.

On the other hand, if I was part of a project team, and wanted to save some drafts of things I was thinking, and only my team had subscribed via bloglet, then maybe sending around ideas early would be helpful for the team and the project.

Just goes to show you that you have to think about each set of users, either as personas a la Cooper (“The Inmates are Running the Asylum”) or as Gause and Weinberg describe friendly, unfriendly, and ignore users (“Exploring Requirements, Quality Before Design”). Just thinking about the Users isn't good enough. We don't all fit the same mold. One user's defect is another user's features.

Actively work to define who all the users are, and take some time to describe them, even if you don't want to use full personas. You'll have fewer unintentional defects.

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