A new model:
As part of my new role with Vearsa I will be responsible for writing specs for new products and features. This is something not unfamiliar to me as I have been writing specs for a number of years in various other positions. What is new for me is the methodology we employ at Vearsa...
Working backwards isn't as complicated as it sounds, we don't start at the last page of a spec and type in reverse! We use an idea that puts the focus firmly on the customers experience, in fact it puts the customer aspect of the change before the nuts and bolts of the design.
Where it came from:
The idea is adapted from Amazon's model for change control documents, you start with what would traditionally be the last piece of collateral in a product launch, the Press Release, and you work backwards from there. What this sets out to achieve is twofold, one you try to plan your change as if it has already been released. When development begins it should aim to comply to that original press release as if it had actually been released already. In addition to this, you make time for the task of writing up user manuals and FAQ's before development is complete and QA is beginning so that as you near your delivery deadline you don't have to worry about getting those documents out of the way
My own angle on working backwards is that my career in IT began working on helpdesk support team. In many ways working in support pushes my thought process even further backwards from the Press Release idea to where the software has been completed and is already in use. I try to use my experience and customer focus to see the queries and issues that could arise, and try to stop them before we've written them. At Vearsa our focus is the same, we aim to write software that is geared towards putting the customer first and the design and development team second.
--David Comber, Product Manger at Vearsa
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