For the last 5-10 years or so I've worked as a Software Developer in places where design was a bit "ad-hoc" that is requirements were farily vague, open and somewhat flexible as long as basic requirements were delivered. I did pretty well in these conditions as I usually had enough to go by to get the job done in these requirements.

Right now though I'm in a position with very strict requirements on just about all the software being developed there. One place I'm having trouble is meeting the exacting requirements down to the slightest column widths, font sizes, etc. Other than this one problem I think I'm doing well, but it's driving some of my peers including the QA teams crazy.

Have other developers faced these issues? What kinds of things did you do to "train your brain" to better look at these things?

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    How long a list are the requirements you have troubles with? Can you make a checklist for yourself that you go through every time you are going to submit to QA?
    – David K
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 19:23
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about psychology / productivity. Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 19:23
  • @tekiegreg If this question does get closed (it's borderline IMO), you might try at [productivity.se] instead.
    – David K
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 19:30
  • Yeah I'm kind of wavering on whether or not I want to voluntarily close....if the sentiment continues to head south then I'll take it over there, thanks!
    – tekiegreg
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 19:48
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3 Answers 3


Project requirements can be very different between various projects. Sometimes like this you have designers who are very precise, and that doesn't necessarily mean its a problem.

Where it becomes a problem is with the current framework and how the requested adjustments affect the overall project scope and timeline. Make sure that you inform the Project Manager that the framework you are using doesn't make it easy to make these adjustments and that they will need to budget more time for these tasks.

All you need to do is pass on the information that the Task XX3 is going to take longer than the estimated 2 hours; and explain why.

Its not your place to debate the purpose or use of these features... that is what the Project Manager is there for. Let the PM take it to the designers and owners of the project. But it may also be just as out of his control as it is yours, and at the end of the day you are going to have to do the tasks regardless of how difficult or how much time it takes.

I realize that so far I haven't done a good job in answering your question of how to train your brain.

  1. Before you start, make a checklist of all items
  2. Check for loosely defined or inconsistent requirements and ask for clarification
  3. Communicate any design issues... often designers do not think about "State X" or "Case B" until you bring it up... and sometimes that requires rethinking the design
  4. Before you commit/submit for review, you should review the requirements and checklist
  5. Make sure you have the right tools (Photoshop required to check pixel perfect alignment?)

It seems like you are in early in the project and that it is the first time that you worked with this designer. It will not take long to start to learn what they are looking for and where they are explicit or general.


One thing that has helped me greatly with this is using test driven development. Writing the tests to the exact specifications required is basically a translation job - you do this before you do actual development.

Putting in tests for more basic requirements allows you to get the satisfaction of getting a win in the early stages every once in a while.

This provides not only motivation and has helped me to ensure my design ideas fit the requirements - because I can quickly tell if what I've come up with runs into issues when considering the final use case - it also ensures you will meet the exact requirements once all tests are passing.


When it comes to formatting code, most IDEs offer a magic key sequence or menu option that will auto-format your code according to whatever standard you set up. If you're not using an IDE, then use a standalone program to do it.

For documents, use the standard company templates and don't fiddle with the settings.

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