Sam Newman's site, a Consultant at ThoughtWorks

Seems to be a UK English usage. A snagging list details the outstanding and remedial work as a construction scheme comes to an end. Sometime the final stage payment is conditional on rectifying the items on the list.

There are always things that we miss. The building industry has known this for a while – towards the end of a construction project, a snagging list is drawn up to detail all those little mistakes that have been made, or damage that has been done inadvertently.

More and more of us tend to slice our functionality up in terms of discrete chunks – whether or not we call it use cases or stories. Stories especially with their focus on delivering value are normally vertical slices through the system – from user interface, to back-end integration and beyond. As such sometimes the horizontal aspects (the most visible of which being the user interface) can sometimes have gaps, defects, and can even be more vulnerable to regression bugs as functional testing will focus along vertical, story lines.

In the building industry, architects draw up the snagging list – and the builders then start the process of “making good” – fixing the items on the list. I feel that a similar, formal process should be required prior to the delivery of any user-facing deliverable, but instead of the architect a developer and client should review all screens drawing up a list of defects. This snagging list can then be prioritised just like any other piece of development, and the work divided up amongst any available development resource.

5 Responses to “Snagging lists – making good”

  1. Mike Atlas

    In US english the concept of a “snag” (n) is a tangle-up or interruption in a process. So a ‘snagging list’ would probably make more sense to an American if it were called a “snags list”.

  2. sam newman

    Damn americans 🙂 – who was it that said the British and Americans were “two nations seperated by a common language”? I seem to remember that “snag” actually means sausage in Australian slang – that whole tower of babel thing has a lot to answer for…

  3. darin buck

    I don’t know if this is a common euphemism outside of the US southeast, but around here it’s called a punch list.

  4. philip

    just looked up this page to check the meaning of punch list. I have finished a decorating job for London based Australian Project manager and he sent it. Never heard it before in the UK


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