Monday, April 19, 2010

Lessons in business analysis from MS Courier

I'm just as excited as the next IT gadget geek to see what Microsoft releases with its upcoming dual screen Courier Digital Journal. But rather than speculate on what features it may or may not have, I want to pause to observe something about the preliminary videos we're seeing pop up--particularly the ones found on engadget.

Watch the videos, and even without sound you get it. You know what this device should do. You have a good idea of who it's for. How many pages of written requirements would it take to convey all the information you just received from this short video?

Watch Joe Levine's TED talk on a proposed mission to Mars and you come to the same conclusion: in a few minutes of video you find yourself saying that's possible. You are previewing the future. It's a simulation, but somehow tangible at the same time. How many words would it take to convey the same information? And how long would that take to digest?

I've spent a lot of years writing requirements documents for software and technology projects. They still have their place. But what is the single most important skill for business analysts of today and tomorrow? Film making.

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