Cover by Joel Spolsky

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sevenPAINLESS FUNCTIONAL SPECIFICATIONSPART 3: BUT...HOW?

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2000

Now that you've read all about why you need a spec and what a spec has in it, let's talk about who should write them.

Who Writes Specs?

Let me give you a little Microsoft history here. When Microsoft started growing seriously in the 1980s, everybody there had read The Mythical Man-Month, one of the classics of software management.1 (If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.) The main point of that book was that when you add more programmers to a late project, it gets even later. That's because when you have n programmers on a team, the number of communication paths is n(n−1)/2, which grows at O(n2).

So the programmers at Microsoft were worried about how ...

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