Re: Software requirements writers?

Subject: Re: Software requirements writers?
From: Jill Burgchardt <jburgcha -at- PESTILENCE -dot- ITC -dot- NRCS -dot- USDA -dot- GOV>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 1997 08:46:53 -0700


Jamie Yeager wrote:

<the software guys already know what ought to be in the
requirements, they just can't write them. so the tech writer's main
qualification has to be, not experience at requirement writing, but

Sorry, I have to disagree. This approach will give you a nice
requirements document for what the software developers WANT to
develop. It may or may not satisfy the true requirements. What about
the user/customer/project sponsor? If a company doesn't look any
further than its developers for software requirements, they may be
headed for very disappointing sales (unless its an inhouse product
to be used by those developers).

Jim Chevallier is right on target:

<It seems to me what's really needed here is a business analyst. .
. .
I wonder if others on the list would agree with me that this is
one of those fuzzy areas where 'technical writer' and 'analyst'

Absolutely. While some tech writers may "blithely take on"
requirements writing and analysis without recognizing/performing the
type and level of analysis required, tech writing and analysis can
be a great combination. I've taken coursework in analysis and
design, systems analysis, logic, and marketing research. Plus,
depending on where I've been working (electric power industry, USDA,
etc.) I've taken industry-specific coursework/training. It's work,
but it makes it possible for me to do analysis as part of my
technical writing. It's also made me a better technical writer.

It's very rewarding. (No, I'm not just talking about money.) It's
the ideal work for those of us who wanted to major in six subjects
and finally "had" to choose one or two. The one down side, which Jim
pointed out, is that there is a real need to attend meetings and
spend time on site.

Jill Burgchardt
jburgcha -at- pestilence -dot- itc -dot- nrcs -dot- usda -dot- gov
Title: Senior Systems Analyst
Responsibility area: Software lifecycle documentation, or

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