Bug? No it’s a non documented feature!

Don’t you just love those kinds of discussions? I love to hear them from other people. Yesterday it happened to me. I received this e-mail after some previous phone calls earlier this week.

From: Frank
Aan: Ronald
Subject: Proposal regarding “prefix” issue

Hi Ronald,

The application, we are talking versions 2.5 up to 2.9 contained department names that were not unique. Therefore, prefixes (XC, YD, YD) were used to uniquely identify them. This prefix mechanism was and still is used for data import of departments, and also to create the filter terms in the GUI. There was no requirement to change this behaviour for release 3.0 (this release is currently under development), on the other hand it is kind of hidden requirement to you, because obviously it was forgotten to document it in the SSS. So since you were not aware of that feature, you didn’t request to change it in version 3.0, consequently.

Therefore, I would like to propose the following:

  • <Some information which is irrelevant for this blog>

Thanks, best regards,

Frank
 
My thoughts while reading this e-mail;

    • There was no requirement to change this behaviour for release 3.0
    • On the other hand it is kind of hidden requirement to you
    • Because obviously it was forgotten to document it in the SSS
    • So since you were not aware of that feature
    • You didn’t request to change it in version 3.0, consequently.

Hmmm fascinating sentences. So we are talking about a “kind of hidden requirement”…which is “obviously” forgotten to document….and because of that I was not aware …and didn’t do the proper request…which got us into this (small) mess.My first reaction was: yeah right…blablabla…change it the way I want it and don’t even think of wasting my precious time on this issue anymore.But then….hmmm….when is a specification ever complete? Let me share a secret with you……specifications are very rarely ever complete. There is such a thing like the existence of non documented features in applications. So Frank can be totally right, even when I’m not aware of this hidden not documented requirement. Luckily the effort to fix the issue was minor, just a few hours, hardly discussion the issue to long. So we reached an agreement fast. But the value to me is great; it reminds me something I forgot for a while: the notion that specifications are incomplete almost by definition and that it can take several releases until you find out this incompleteness.

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