Re: Fw: documenting software development lifecycle

Subject: Re: Fw: documenting software development lifecycle
From: "Diane Evans" <diane_evans -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 07 May 2003 08:15:28 -0700

Could someone explain what a software development lifecycle is, and briefly
what would be involved in documenting it?

Any entity has a life cycle. People are born, become infants, then children, then adolescents, then adult, and finally we get old and die. Software is similar. Someone has an idea which eventually becomes a software product which at some point becomes obsolete and dies.

I write the documentation for software products, starting with the "Andy Hardy" (Let's have a show!) phase through retirement of the system and migrating the data (if needed) to a new system.

In many ways, this is easy tech writing. I never have to agonize over fonts. I have a few stock templates, and use them over and over. In other ways, this is difficult tech writing. I write for constantly changing systems, some of which are pure vaporware. (For the uninitiated: "Thoughtware" is understood by a single person, "Vaporware" is being talked about and there may be some documentation or even press releases, "Under development" means that someone has actually written some code, and "Product" means that it might actually run on someone's computer somewhere.) I need to specifiy requirements, then ensure that the developers understand and adhere to these requirements. Finally, I help write tests to ensure the requirements are met.

For more information, check out A good book is "Software Requirements" by Karl Wiegers. and are also good sources of information.

Diane Evans
Technical Writer

Washington State Coordinator, Tombstone Project

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