Documenting Plans - Identifying Key Components

Documenting Plans - Identifying Key Components

Project Competency 13:

Documenting Plans - Identifying Key Components

Documenting plans and other project artifacts, an important part of project management, is frequently forgotten or ignored. Documentation ranges from program code analysis and reverse engineering of legacy systems, to practical specifications, user manuals, and project plans.

Programmers, good at developing software and maintaining custom applications, generally have neither the skills nor the desire to write user manuals. When forced, programmers who write manuals do so at a level too complicated for the average user to understand. Unfortunately, user documentation is often misunderstood, cannot be found in the manual or online, or is missing completely.

Carefulness, logical organization, and step-by-step instructions lead to working documentation. It should never be, but often is, left until the end of the project.

For any project, large or small, short or long, a few basic documents are necessary for success. They are the authority that goes beyond the tribal memory of the team. The core document is the project management plan - the team's map for the project journey. Other documents will also be required depending on size, scope, and other needs - they contain a project charter, business justification, risk management plan, configuration management plan, SQA plan, communications plan, requirements and design specifications, a test plan, acceptance instrument, and post process analysis. The project management skill of how to prepare each of these documents is discussed throughout the blog as they apply at each phase of the product development life cycle.

We will address documentation in at least ten sections. Our case study demonstrates the differences between a project drifting on fading memories, and one centered on a documented foundation.


product development, life cycle, project management
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