Daniel and the King
Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there lay a coastal kingdom whose primary industry was fishing. The head of this kingdom, the King, was a wise, older man who was once a great deep-sea fisherman himself. His royal servant, Daniel, was a headstrong, confident young man, who was known for his occasional big blunder but who overall did a good job serving the King's needs.
One day, the King approached Daniel and said, "Daniel, I would like you to be in charge of building me a great new boat." Daniel, giddy with excitement, thanked the King for the opportunity and ran off to immediately make plans to create that great boat. Daniel was confident that he knew what the King wanted - though the King was an older man, he was still in great health and was known to fish casually by the river once a week. The King often expressed to Daniel how he longed for his youthful days, but was happy with the comforts that had been provided to him through his monarchy. "Surely," Daniel thought, "the King means to build a great new boat to relive his younger fishing days again! I will fill it with the best equipment and the best hands to help the King reel in his nets." Confident that he knew exactly what the King wanted, Daniel appointed his younger brother to wait on the King while he was working on the boat.
Two months later, the great boat was finally finished. Daniel, exhausted but satisfied with his work, presented the boat to the King. The King immediately asked where the tennis court and swimming pool were. Daniel was confused. "Oh King, surely you jest!" However, the great King was not amused and certainly not jesting. "Daniel, when I asked for a great boat, I wanted a cruise ship so that we can expand our industries and become a tourist destination!"
Moral: When taking on a project of any scope, you must clarify the needs of your customer, especially before you finish the project. Though you may think you know your customer well, it is always important to have complete stakeholder buy-in of your goals and a mutual understanding of the goals of the project. Had Daniel approached the King with a design document, reviewed the document with him, and had the King sign on the dotted line indicating that this is what he wanted, he might not have ended up in the dungeon, hanging by his thumbs.
These stories are adapted examples written in my class, IS 6840 (formerly MSIS 488).
© Vicki L. Sauter. All rights Reserved.