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In the discussion of best practices for software
development, it was said:
"The technical spec (design spec) ought to be written
before coding begins. It takes the _what_ from the
functional spec and explicates the _how_ in terms of
Actually, a great deal of work has been done in recent
years to develop the "Unified Model" of software
development. The most cutting edge implementation is
called "Extreme Programming."
It has been estimated that approximately $81 Billion
was spent last year in projects which never saw the
light of day.
Much of the problem has been attributed to the
somewhat traditional "waterfall" method, in which a
full design spec is done first.
It turns out that this method makes inevitable changes
during development very difficult if not impossible to
In this brief comment, I am sure I am not doing these
methodologies justice. There are many interesting
books on the unified model and extreme programming.
You might also look at www.xprogramming.com. Rational
Corporation was the major pioneer in the unified
model, which they call the Rational Unified Model
(RUP). To get an introduction to the concepts, look at http://www.rational.com/products/rup/index.jsp.
I am now involved in learning the ways that
techwriters can participate in these processes in a
meaningful way. Later in the year, I plan to prepare
an article on the subject.
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