In the classic documentary This is Spinal Tap, crack documentarian Marti DeBergi captures a textbook case of requirements specifications gone awry. The dialogue went like this:
Artist: Um, I’m not understanding it. What do you mean “the actual piece?”
Ian: Well I mean…I mean when you build the actual piece.
Artist: But this is what you asked for, isn’t it?
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Artist: Well this is the piece.
Ian: This is the piece?
Ian: Are you telling me that this is it? This is scenery? Have you ever been to Stonehenge?
Artist: No, I haven’t been to Stonehenge.
Ian: The triptychs are…the triptychs are 20 feet high. You can stand four men up them!
Artist: Ian, I was…I was…I was supposed to build it 18 inches high.
Ian: This is insane. This isn’t a piece of scenery.
Artist: Look, look. Look, this is what I was asked to build. Eighteen inches. Right here, it specifies eighteen inches. I was given this napkin, I mean…
Ian Faith: Nigel gave me a drawing that said 18 inches. Now, whether or not he knows the difference between feet and inches is not my problem. I do what I’m told.