Talking to the business: Our problems, their visions

For IT, problems are our life's work, but business people want to avoid them at all costs

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The first meeting for a project is a tense affair. There can be a lot of new things coming at you all at once. New co-workers. New technology. New processes. And, perhaps most problematic, new business partners.

These meetings tend to follow predictable patterns. You, the technical person, want to stick to a process, gathering basic requirements that can be put into a document. So you ask some questions about what's going on with the business and what problems need to be solved.

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The business person talks rather vaguely about what she wants to accomplish. She seems excited about something, but you don't know exactly what. So you ask more questions to try to understand.

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