[MUD-Dev] Re: Analysis and specification - the dirty words of mu

Jon A. Lambert jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com
Sun Jun 14 02:13:54 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On  9 Jun 98, Greg Munt wrote:
> I've been on this list for over a year.
> Throughout that period, the list's discussions have been biased
> towards design. The logical conclusion of this, is that one or more
> of the following is true:

I would consider a great many of posts on this list to be analysis. 
Analysis of the "wandering about type" as Chris Gane might describe 
it.  The posting of scenarios, the nitpicking over "what if the 
user does this or this", the reporting of user experiences and 
the critique of designs is wandering about metaphorically.  Some of 
us also do some literal wandering about in investigating 
currently up and running muds. 

They RP vs GOP threads are a good source of what the user wants and
why the user wants it that way.  The discussions on interfaces by
Caliban and others contain a good deal of user analysis.  Dr. Cat's 
few but lengthy posts are almost pure analysis of game players 
proclivities from my point view.  Raph Koster's posts contain a 
wealth of requirements with some links to supporting analysis to 
justify them.  

Admittedly none of this is formal analysis and requirements.  If it 
interests you, here's a little blurb from a document we use to assess 
the quality of requirements.  The source is "Code Complete" by 
Stephen McConnell. 

Requirements Content

=B7 Are all of the inputs to the system specified, including their
source, accuracy, range of values and frequency? =B7 Are all of the
outputs from the system specified, including their destination,
accuracy, range of values, frequency, and format? =B7 Are all the report
formats specified? =B7 Are all the external hardware and software
interfaces specified? =B7 Are all the communications specified,
including handshaking, error-checking and communications protocols? =B7
Is the expected response time, from the user's point of view,
specified for all necessary operations? =B7 Are other timing
considerations specified, such as processing time data-transfer rate,
and system throughput? =B7 Are all the tasks the user wants to perform
specified? =B7 Are the data used in each task and the data resulting
from each task specified? =B7 Is the level of security specified? =B7 Is
the reliability specified, including the consequences of software
failure, the vital information that needs to be protected from
failure, and the strategy for error detection and recovery? =B7 Is the
maximum memory specified? =B7 Is the  maximum storage specified? =B7 Is
the maintainability of the system specified, including its ability to
adapt to changes in the operating environment, in its interfaces with
other software, in its accuracy, and in its performance? =B7 Are
acceptable trade-offs between competing attributes specified-for
example, between robustness and correctness? =B7 Is the definition of
success included? Of failure?

Requirements Completeness

=B7 Where information isn't available before development begins, are the
areas of incompleteness specified? =B7  Are the requirements complete in
the sense that if the product satisfies every requirement, it will be
acceptable? =B7 Are you uneasy about any part of the requirements?  Are
some parts impossible to implement and included just to please your
customer or boss?

Requirements Quality

=B7 Are the requirements written in user language?  Do the users think
so? =B7 Does each requirement avoid conflicts with other requirements? =B7
Do the requirements avoid specifying the design? =B7 At the requirements
at a fairly consistent level of detail?  Should any requirement be
specified in more detail?  Should any requirements be specified in
less detail? =B7 Are the requirements clear enough to be turned over to
an independent group for implementation and still be understood? =B7 Is
each item relevant to the problem and its solution?  Can each item be
traced to its origin in the problem environment? =B7 Is each requirement
testable?  Will it be possible for independent testing to determine
whether each requirement has been satisfied? =B7 Are all possible
changes to the requirements specified, including the likelihood of
each change?

--/*\ Jon A. Lambert - TychoMUD     Internet:jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com /*\--
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