I wanted to keep this post a little more intemporal: it got lost in the middle of blog posts, etc. Therefore, I moved it to the permatechlinks section of JGP.net. This is the introduction:
This article is an attempt to summarize best practices to achieve a successful identification of the customer’s needs in a software project. Based on my experience, this is one of the riskiest parts of the project. Customers have an idea of what they want, but often they have difficulties expressing needs in terms that are intelligible to custom software developers. On the other side, IT experts have a tendency toward being verbose, utilizing too much tech jargon. This article will attempt to help both groups find a common language.
You can now read the few Guidelines for a Successful Software Project in full.