Wednesday, 27 January 2010

My most commonly used (polite) phrases

So during my many daily meetings, conference calls & VCs (I'm sorry but I utterly refuse to call a video conference a 'Telepresence session') it would appear that there are sets of increasingly common phrases I find myself uttering.

Now before I have them made up into placards or flashcards I thought I'd draft a quick list of the current (printable & less offensive) ones in no particular order :-

By far the most common one is "What are your requirements? Please show me the requirements?", naturally this is rapidly followed by :-
  • Anything written down at all? (And not using imaginary paper, or written with crayons, and no a napkin/beermat/fag-packet isn't suitable delivery material)
  • Any chance of the requirements staying consistent for longer than the flap of a hummingbird's wings?
  • Any chance of some requirements that don't require the combined skills of Gandalf, Einstein, Bernie Madoff & David Copperfield to deliver? 
  • Any requirements that aren't simply a list of vendor part numbers in a quote?
  • Can you explain & justify any of those requirements at all?
  • Can you explain & justify why you'd like something different from our standards?
If we're lucky the topic then moves on to things like :-
  • Where is the High Level Design document / schematic?
  • What about Backup & Recovery in your design?
  • Its recovery not backup that matters!
  • What about any form of RPO & RTO requirements?
  • How does component backup & recovery relate to the service backup/recovery?
  • HA isn't DR!
  • If you want DR, can you complete the BIA (Business Impact Analyser) to see what that recommends?
  • You do realise that an RPO/RTO of 0 is very difficult/expensive/not-possible at the infrastructure layer over that distance?
  • What's the SLA/OLA offered or required?
  • What are performance requirements? (and no saying 'the fastest' simply isn't good enough, and yes we do want to understand both storage & network IO in the performance requirements)
 Typically with partners/suppliers there will also be :-
  • Where are the performance benchmarks and claim proof for your technology or product? (and no '2x faster than previous' isn't of any use if we don't have a benchmark for previous etc)
  • What's the processes for, and how do you manage, RFQ, RFE, support etc?
  • Show and provide me with the TCO & ROI models for your product, technology & architectures
  • Show me the differentiation, unique selling point & justify your product vs other companies & products?
  • Can yo explain why you're better for me than the exiting/other technology?
 Naturally there are also the resource related topics such as :-
  • What priority is this versus other work?
  • Other than yesterday or today, what's the due date for this? 
  • Do you have any budget funds for this work?
And of course my all time favorite (thanks Larry T - I can't print the one from your Mother, but this one is still used a heck of a lot ) "don't be offended but, your inability to plan or think doesn't constitute an emergency on my behalf "

I'm off to mutter some more in a darkened corner... :)


  1. Let`s not forget "It depends"

  2. I just loved this entry... It could have been written by me - the amount of times i have encountered this over the last 6 months is unreal....

    How many times i have been told "we are just putting ideas together" - Jeez is asking for a requirement such hard work....

    I point blank refuse to do anything now, unless requirements are clearly articulated and cost / impact analysis has been completed...

    I am now going to go back to my grumpy corner also....