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Ceterum censeo… » The problem with “should”

Ceterum censeo…


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  • Michael's Blog
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  • Warning: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 11

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    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 22

    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 24

    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 25

    Warning: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 11

    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 20

    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 22

    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 24

    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 25


    Warning: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 11

    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 20

    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 22

    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 24

    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 25
    06/13/2011 (5:42 pm)

    The problem with “should”

    Filed under: Business Analysis ::

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    I’ve been objecting to the use of the word “should” recently, on the basis that it contains ambiguity which cannot be resolved by context.

    For example, the statement “X should do Y” could be used to describe…

    …a requirement:

    • X must do Y, or it will be provably incorrect
    • X must do Y, because of this legal requirement
    • X needs to do Y to support this well documented business process
    • X needs to do Y because Y has always been done in that situation
    • X needs to do Y because Z does Y, and X replaces Z
    • if X does Y, then it will have more of quality U (user friendly, stylish, corporate image, whatever)
    • In hindsight, it would have been better if X did Y, but nobody thought of it
    • I’d like it if X did Y, but no-one wants to pay for it

    …an expectation:

    • X does Y by design
    • X doesn’t do Y now, but will do Y in the future
    • X does Y. At least, I think it does, but I’m not 100% certain
    • X has done Y every time I’ve seen it in this situation, and I’ve seen a lot
    • X has done Y every time I’ve seen it in this situation, but I haven’t seen much
    • It stands to reason that X does Y

    …a responsibility:

    • X has a professional obligation to do Y
    • X has an organisational responsibility to do Y
    • X has been doing Y in the past, so they’ll do Y in the future
    • X can do Y better than some other group

    All of these are hidden assumptions, which can be uncovered through further discussion. But having those discussions makes makes you seem like a pedant. Instead, people should* refrain from using that particular word.

    * Yes, yes, I know. It’s ironic. Leave me alone.

    2 Responses to “The problem with “should””

    1. shane clauson Says:

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      Michael,
      One should never consider one’s self a pedant.

      Cheers,
      Shane.
      ;)

    2. Ceterum censeo… » A Take On Priority Says:

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      […] Another approach is the MoSCoW method: describe the features as ‘Must’, ‘Should’, ‘Could’, and ‘Won’t’. This isn’t too bad, although I’m on record as having a problem with ’should’. […]

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