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I have a customer that needs a small program made to do some simple tasks. I know pretty much what they want to do exactly, but our developer does not (external resource).

Customer just specifies what they want as a 3 point bullet list: "Do A, B, C..".

Now, I could make a suggestion for them, but that would surely mean they would take any example I make and raise that to be the specification.

So, what are some good resources people here use to send to customers that don't really specify what they want for software ? After all, you also don't call your carpenter and say "Build me a house", without any idea of what you wish.

Note, this is for a windows application, not a website.

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  • Is your problem unclear requirements or that there are no wireframes for the dev to work with? Requirements can also be stated via text (e.g. user stories) and an experienced developer can work with that given the UI is not so important for the customer. I doubt a customer can create wireframes, if they have no experience in this area.
    – Nash
    Dec 13, 2022 at 8:57
  • Make a wireframe, bring it to your customer and ask them to do A, B, and C---see if it works. In other words, user test it. Dec 13, 2022 at 13:30

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This is a part of the design cycle/process.

Assuming your client has approached you with a problem to solve and you're designing a solution to that problem, this is where you gather what you've understood from your client and make some high-level user flows and play it back to them to see if they agree with your understanding.

Then you can sit down with the developer, share your user flow and talk to them about the technical requirements for what you're proposing and make any changes to get around any technical limitations that the developer surfaces.

Get the developer to draw up a technical component to the user flow so that you can generate a swim-lane style chart with both the user interactions and the technical processes.

Then you back to the client again with the new swim-lane chart and get the client to agree again - It's also helpful if you have the developer in this meeting so that they can field any questions arising from the new information.

You CAN go to your carpenter and say "build me a house" but, if your carpenter is any good, they'll ask you lots of questions to understand what you want before they start cutting up wood.

Alternatively, if your client has approached you with the simple request to build a piece of software that has no clear need that it solves, then you have a bigger problem - Your client may not need a piece of software at all!

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