Implied Requirements


FSA (Farm Security Administration) home supervisor Miss Harton helping one of borrowers' families cut patterns and make their own clothes. Caswell County, North Carolina. Pattern parts such as sleeves are named chunks of functionality, well understood by the customer.

...a ProductInitiative [BibRef-Cunningham1996] has identified the direction for further development and a MarketWalk-through [BibRef-Cunningham1996] has explored the customer motivation and developmental possibilities behind it. We expect positions and attitudes to be understood but have yet to make any commitments beyond everyone's general commitment to do a good job by the company. 

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A commitment implies an agreement between people. Development commitments generally obligate developers to meet some customer need in a timely and satisfactory way. The tension here is to define a need in sufficient detail that commitments have meaning without exhausting up-front analysis or over constraining a solution. 


Select and name chunks of functionality. Use names that would have meaning to customers consistent with the ProductInitiative. Allow these names to imply customer requirements without actually enumerating requirements in the traditional sense. 

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  • Year-End Tax Reports
  • Dollar Denominated Japanese Bonds
  • High-Quality Printing
  • Disconnected Operation on Lap-Tops

These names will fill in the blank in the recurring questions like: Who's handling the programming (or specification, or customer contact, or manual update, or release notes) for __. 

A version of this pattern first appeared in [BibRef-Cunningham1996].