Thursday, December 02, 2004

Requirements, analysts and language

When you look at new organisations to assist you in COTS based development one of the questions must be 'do they know your business?' and the other 'do they know your domain?'. If they have a product with a good fit then the answers to these questions will be obvious, where there are significant gaps then these questions become more important, or do they? If I'm in foriegn climes then I'll attempt to learn at least some basic of the language, and knowing that mispronunciation can create misunderstandings, will pay careful attention to meaning and pronunciation. When I'm in a country that speaks English I'm careless, assuming that my English is the same English as the reciever of my verbage. This assumption is broken, as anyone who visits the US finds out quickly. It's an assumption not made when trying to speak a foreign language.

I wonder if it is easier to engage with an organisation that doesn't know your domain, since they won't make subtle assumptions about your domain or your business simply because they *think* they know the language you are using.

Maybe 'preferred readings' are easier to construct if you don't speak the same language and don't share words that map to different social constructs.

That's an extreme view but it seems that at least you need to pay more attention to what someone says if *they* think they are speaking the same language as you.