In 1979 Tom de Marco wrote a seminal book that was largely responsible for introducing structured techniques to the information systems (I.S.) world. In it he characterised the non-structured specification, the document intended to communicate the proposed systems to the user, as a textual Victorian novel, unloved, unread but not understood. Despite the fact that this specification essentially formed a contract between the user and the developer he found that the user was unable to comprehend its content and hence would sign off the requirement with a shrug of his shoulders and an ill-founded hope that the computing department knew what it was doing.
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