How much is Just Enough Documentation?

Johanna Rothman writes "Sure, we can start defining requirements. And we should spend as little time as possible, and make that definition as low fidelity as possible as long as the fidelity is appropriate for your project's context. So if you're developing a product that doesn't have human life implication, timeboxing requirements, paper prototypes, storyboards, informal use cases and other fast and low fidelity techniques are suitable." Granted, some product managers try to get by with a requirement on a cocktail napkin. Yet many product managers spend too much time trying to get the requirements acceptable to development--as if developers were assembly line workers without the ability to reason. Too much time spent writing the Market Requirements Document leaves too little time to interview clients--to understand the needs for the next product or release. The MRD can only give guidelines for developing products but never truly defines the final result. Starting from the requirements, our developers add some code, some experience, and some creativity--little of which is specified in the MRD. Are you writing Just Enough Documentation? "Just enough" is adequate communication but not so much that nobody reads it.

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.

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