Re: Bi-directional traceability and docs

Subject: Re: Bi-directional traceability and docs
From: Chuck Martin <cm -at- writeforyou -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2004 15:29:13 -0700

dan_roberts -at- adp -dot- com wrote:

We're going thru the pains of CMMi here, and one of the objectives is to
institute "bi-directal traceability", which, in a nutshell, means that the
spec points to the places in the code and doc that need to change to meet
a user req, and the code and the doc reflect the user req that prompted a
change. And my group here has been asked to consider implementing this
traceability in our doc.

A little background. We release new software versions every 6 months, each
new version consisting of a number of user req "enhancements", which are
then summarized in Release Notes, and propogated throughout the
installation, configuration, and user doc. The Release Notes list each
"enhancement" that goes in a version, but the other docs do not mention
specific enhancements by number. The request is that the other pieces of
doc also begin mentioning the specific "enhancements".

I can come up with good reasons to do so - it helps our users and our
business analysts track how an enhancement ripples through our system.
OTOH, I can see this turning into a big pain in the tuckus.

Well, I'm not sure I entirely understand, but I infer that what's desired is content in the documentation that not only tell users what to do, how to do it, and why they should make specific choices or enter specific information, but content that tells users what revision of the software a particular feature was added or modified.

Answer: No.

I touched on this in another response: docs should give users the information they need, when they need it.

Anything else is visual clutter.

If you're using version 6.1 of the product, and you need help and open the docs, you could care less that the particular feature you're using was added in version 5.0. From a user's perspective, that information is entirely irrelevant to their goals.

Chuck Martin
User Assistance & Experience Engineer
twriter "at" sonic "dot" net

"I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me.
The day may come when the courage of Men fail, when we forsake our
friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day!
This day, we fight!"
- Aragorn

"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given you."
- Gandalf


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