The New


This is a role-play scenario to work on with your teacher.

You will play a senior engineer who works in a small startup company. Your teacher will play a new client, who you're meeting for the first time.

You need to understand what they need you to develop for them - even though they may not completely know themselves!

The Scenario

You are working with some former University colleagues in a tech startup, SuperTech.  You sell an online HR system, “SuperHR”, targeted at SMEs. The tool has a lot of the features of the industry-leading applications, but it is still new and has a few problems.

Your Marketing Director has been in discussions with a potential new client, Mega-HR. Mega-HR would be bigger than all your existing ones, and everyone is keen to get the deal signed. It would mean big bonuses! However - they are demanding additional functionality be added to the platform.

As the senior technical expert behind SuperHR, you are attending a meeting with the CHRO of Mega-HR.  Your task is to understand their requirements, answer questions about SuperHR, and be realistic about the challenges of adding the new functionality they want. 


It's an important deal; but it's even more important to get it right!

Useful Vocabulary

Additional functionality

New customers often ask for new features or integrations to existing products. This can be described as 'additional functionality'

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Calculating how much a project or initiative will cost, and comparing to the benefit it will give a company

Industry leading / standard

The most popular product in its area, often with a large number of companies or people using it

Not fit for purpose

If something is not fit for purpose, it’s fundamentally not suitable for what it’s meant to do. Think of a car with square wheels!


Small-to-medium enterprise. Companies with between about 20 and about 250 employees

Technical debt

When features are prioritised over bug-fixing and refactoring code, problems can build up. This is known as technical debt


Chief Human Resources Officer. A C-level executive who is responsible for a company's overall HR policies, procedures, and all staff matters

HR System

A software tool used by companies to keep track of their employees details - date of birth, address, job title, salary etc.

Low-hanging fruit

Things which are easy to achieve - like picking fruit from the low branches of a tree. "Let see if we can find some low-hanging fruit to improve the situation"

Requirements Specification

A document that clearly defines what a product or platform does; what it doesn't do; or changes/new features that are needed


A small, new business. Often a technology company offering something different from what’s currently available

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