Tag Archives: Joel Spolsky

Recommended Reading: Painless Functional Specifications

Way back in 2000, Joel Spolsky wrote a series of articles on his ‘Joel on Software’ blog (highly recommended) that discussed Functional Specifications.  Now, given that this was written back in 2000 a lot of people will say it is out of date and no longer applicable.  But I think there are many valid points in his set of articles that any BA should think about.

Below I have provided a link to each of the four different articles in the series, along with a sample quote from each.  You may find that what Spolsky has to say resonates for you, whether you follow an ‘Agile’ or ‘Non-Agile’ process.
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‘You Suck at Excel’ video with Joel Spolsky

If you are a business analyst, you probably use Excel.  And if you use Excel, there is a REALLY good chance that you don’t use most of its capabilities and don’t know all of the ways to use it most efficiently.  I know that is true for me.  🙂

That’s why I want to recommend you watch this video.  It was private session done by Joel Spolsky to employees of Trello, Fog Creek Software, and Stack Exchange.  And if you weren’t aware of it already; besides founding or co-founding all three of those companies, Joel Spolsky used to be a program manager at Microsoft back in the early to mid-1990’s and he worked a lot on Excel.

He moves quick in this video, but there are a ton of good tips and tricks for using Excel the way most BA’s do.  That is, NOT for rigorous data analysis.  🙂

It’s only 54 minutes long and it might worth your time to watch.

Enjoy!