functional specifications formats (overall rather than documentation)

Subject: functional specifications formats (overall rather than documentation)
From: "Emily Goodin" <emily -dot- goodin -at- alignmentsoftware -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 07:48:58 -0700

Hi everyone,

Sorry about my unclear post from yesterday. (But thanks to those who
responded with information on document design; that's useful to me too.)

I'm looking for good examples of functional specifications for product
releases, or line item design documents. Part of the design document
would describe GUI changes or general "externals" changes that I'll need
to describe in my documentation, and I'm looking for the best way to
coax detailed information about this work "up front" from the
developers. (I know it's not possible to get complete information, but
having at least something written down would be a start, and it would
get them thinking about it.) I'm hoping to recommend a standard format
to the development team when we meet for our "debriefing" from the
previous release, and although I have some general ideas of what to
suggest, more ideas to work with would be great.

(I was tempted to give this post an OT in the heading, but don't some of
us actually write specifications as part of our tech writing jobs, or
has that gone the way of the dinosaur? Maybe this is a question for
another post!)

For example, line item design documents I've worked with in the past
have had headings like:

- origin of line item (customer requirement, marketing requirement,
- value to customer for this line item.
Implementation - high level
Alternatives considered
Information flow diagram
Interaction with other modules
Specific line item related changes/tasks/effects:
- installation
- configuration
- administration
- problem determination
User externals changes:
General documentation tasks/changes:

Any thoughts or other ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Emily Goodin
Alignment Software
emily -dot- goodin -at- alignmentsoftware -dot- com


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