Re: Bi-directional traceability and docs

Subject: Re: Bi-directional traceability and docs
From: David Neeley <dbneeley -at- oddpost -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2004 17:43:40 -0700 (PDT)

I'm with Chuck, except I'd say "Not only No! but Hell, No!"

So long as you maintain a reasonably good change tracking system for your original docs (and you DO, don't you?), this sort of clutter is counterproductive to the extreme.

With *your* change tracking docs, you can easily recreate what went into all changes in the history of the docs for audit purposes (say, ISO 9000, for instance) while keeping the actual documents functional for everyone.

If you've ever had to keep government regulations up to date, or perhaps a printed law library, you would know that the interminable change pages and pamphlets are often bewildering to "mere mortals."

Today, I believe the best of all doc systems is to make the latest versions available on your customer-accessible website, generally as .pdf files and/or perhaps XML. You might want to put a single "version history" document there, too, for any who might actually care to refer to it.

Meanwhile, if you have a document change management (software) system, you should be able to quickly find when any change was made and all the places it was reflected in doc updates.

It sounds to me as if this "bi-directional traceability" is the product of a rather officious type--maybe an accountant--with little understanding of actual user requirements. (For a prototype, see the "PHB" in Dilbert).


-----Original Message from Chuck Martin <cm -at- writeforyou -dot- com>-----

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

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.


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