Users Don’t Know What They Want

Users don’t know what they want!. 

I have developed quite a few systems, and worked as an architect and systems integrator on many more and it’s always been pretty clear to me that in general users don’t know what they want.  Even if the user takes the trouble to write a specification, in the end it won’t meet their requirements for at least one of the following reasons:


  1. The most likely is that they are not the customer, they just happen to be nominated as the customer’s representative.  If you are lucky it’s because they are respected by the customer community for being in touch with their needs, unfortunately that’s rarely the case.  I once had a customer who described his requirement for an aerodynamics analysis platform as, “I need a mega-floppy Unix box”. At first I thought he was joking but that really was the limit of his capacity to explain his requirement.  The guy could do computational fluid dynamics but he had no concept of his needs.

  2. Even if the customer rep really understand the requirement they often don’t have the skills to communicate that requirement

  3. If they can define the requirement they …