I use Sococo Teamspace as one of my means of online collaboration. Sococo has recently conducted a survey about the issues that plague distributed teams, especially in a cross-cultural context. You can read the article here, but one chart stood out in my mind:
“Miscommunication about requirements” is the top issue, and “Different views on quality” also caught my attention. All of these problems can be dealt with, but those two require a special effort to communicate.
Philip Crosby, and his “zero defects” definition of quality, understands that requirements and quality are inherently linked as follows:
- Quality is defined as conformance to customers’ requirements
- The system for improving quality is prevention
- The performance standard is zero defects—a commitment to conform to requirements
- The measurement of quality is the price of quality.
This means one of the biggest issues in development by a distributed cross-cultural team can be dealt with by clarifying requirements. The functional and/or technical specification document can be part of the means of clarification of both requirements and quality. By making sure that requirements are clear and understood, major issues can be resolved.
It is possible to adapt a functional specification for a variety of cross-cultural situations and also various agile methodologies.
Telling the story of your requirements in a functional specification is one of the things I can help you with. See my IT/Support/Software page, and contact me for ideas!