Requirements are always the key

Thursday, November 10th, 2005 at 07:52pm

One positive aspect of the renovations that are underway at work is that it is a practical example of the problems that incomplete requirement elicitation can cause.

<disclaimer>be warned, the following is a rant</disclaimer>

The architect who designed the new floor plan was given an initial brief and it seems to have been something like: “x offices for these people, a large meeting room, some other meeting rooms, and as many people in open plan as possible”. This is obviously a very cynical view…

A set of requirements such as that is probably going to be ok for those who are getting offices but for the rest of us (the majority) it pretty much sucks… Irrespective of our job function and required resources we have all been allocated identical work areas:

  • A 1800mm x 2000mm corner desk
  • A single drawer unit (two small drawers and one filing drawer)
  • Maybe some shelves that attach to the screens that two thirds of us have against our desks.

For a number of people this will be adquate. But what about the people that we think should have offices but policy dictates they don’t? At the upper end are a couple of people with three drawer filing cabinets full of work, shelves full of stuff and in one case a free standing electronic whiteboard.

My requirements are more modest but still exceeds our allocation as I will require around two metres of shelf space for my books, folders, etc. This means that I will have to put up with part of my view (I’m lucky enough to be by a window) cut off by a screen so shelves can be attached to it…

And that is just the desks. What about:

  • Zero whiteboards (which may not be so bad as it should force people to go to one of the two (only) breakout rooms for discussions)
  • Zero coat space. Are we expected to hang them on the back of our chairs? Isn’t that unprofessional? Considering the fuss the architect made about all new desks and chairs so the colours would match…
  • No consideration for bicycles. There will be a minimum of five bicycles every day. Maybe up to a dozen…
  • A smaller kitchen. It currently maxes out at eight. How will it handle fifty when it is reduced in size?

I know it is futile but what if this had all been taken into account…

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