Re: functional specifications formats (overall rather than documentation)

Subject: Re: functional specifications formats (overall rather than documentation)
From: Beth Agnew <Beth -dot- Agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 16:20:11 -0500


I've had excellent results with a couple of client companies by using Use Cases, which are then used to develop specifications. (You can download my Use Case info PDF from my website at http://www.agnewcom.com/resources.html). Written use cases break the product design down into tasks and features in a way that is user focused and task oriented. The resulting specifications are then much easier to write, and more complete. This approach also gets more people involved at the design stage, so that there is a clearer collective vision of what you're producing.

Many developers are familiar with the idea of use cases as they are part of the UML methodology. Written use cases externalize that information so that the product manager, techwriters, etc. can see what is going on. This lightens the burden on the developers (who aren't always masters of design) and shares the load among all the stakeholders. Typically, the business analyst or systems analyst is the best person to write the use cases, but they're not that difficult to create, so it could be any member(s) of the team.

There's a bit of a learning curve for implementing written use cases within a company, and they must have the will to do it right, but it can be very successful.
--Beth

Emily Goodin wrote:

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.
--
Beth Agnew
Professor, Technical Communication
Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
Toronto, Ontario
416.491.5050 x3133
beth -dot- agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca




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References:
functional specifications formats (overall rather than documentation): From: Emily Goodin

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