[Haskell-cafe] Re: Maybe off-topic -- Writing contracts or software specifications

Achim Schneider barsoap at web.de
Tue Apr 14 05:27:42 EDT 2009

"Richard O'Keefe" <ok at cs.otago.ac.nz> wrote:

> If you have a low level of trust, you'll need a great level of
> detail, and it still won't help.
Heh. Keep your friends close, your enemies closer.

Freelancing, I was always paid per hour, not per feature. From my
experience, writing something like "The contractor will work closely
with an employee designated by Foo to ensure formal and informal, known
or yet to be discovered, specifications are implemented" is the best
thing you can do. If you have it, mention your QA and its guidelines.
If you don't have it, get both. [1]

It's more than enough to boot a bad teamplayer out of his contract,
doesn't induce frowns in top coders (SNAFU, as those are the ones you
want to hire), does not risk mis-specifying requirements (which, with
legal backing, is also SNAFU) and doesn't take longer and/or cost more
to work out than the program itself (SNAFU, again). Be sure that not
only bugs are fixed, but the reasons they appeared in the first place,
too: That's the secret people writing space shuttle control software and
similar use.

[1] Even if it's just one guy working out things like "Every function
    must be documented" and me getting a bug report saying "Help text
    does not mention how to display help text".
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