Cover Page by Suzanne Robertson, James Robertson

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7. Understanding the Real Problem

in which we “think above the line” to find the true essence of the business, and so deliver the right product—one that solves the right problem

I know that’s what I asked for, but it’s not what I need. You do not have to be part of IT very long to hear that statement and to see the expectant smiles dashed from the developers’ faces—it happens all the time. So what is going wrong here? The developers have delivered exactly what the business stakeholders asked for, but it turns out not to solve their business problem. Why not? Because the real problem was never stated, and so was never correctly understood.

When stakeholders ask for some feature or capability, they quite often state their request as an implementation. ...

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