RE: documenting software development processes

Subject: RE: documenting software development processes
From: "Evans, Diane L (Rosetta)" <diane_evans -at- merck -dot- com>
To: "'Viorel Lupu'" <pidgin -at- ua -dot- fm>, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 15:43:55 -0500

>My question is what approaches, technologies, and standards are typically
>to document and standardize the software development process and what would
>an ideal solution for a small software company? I am concerned mostly with
>documenting side, without going too much into project management. Any help
>would be appreciated.

This is what I do for a living -- documenting the software development

Before you get started with technologies and standards, you need to first
identify the approach that your company takes to building software. Many
models are described in various literature, such as the waterfall,
iterative, and agile development.

Once you have defined your approach, define the documents that will mark
each phase of the model. For example, we have a "Project Charter" which
defines how a project will be managed, a "Requirements Specification" which
defines the customers' expectations, a "Design Specification" which
describes how the software was built, and a "Test Plan" which defines how
the software will be tested to ensure all requirements have been met.

After defining the approach and the documentation, you can now find software
which meets your needs. Do you need to track signatures electronically? Do
you need software to keep track of previous versions of a document? Your
company may have specific requirements for document control and management.

This isn't a quick and easy process. It took me over a month to just define
our approach for development, and another three years to get to the state
where we are today -- some, but not all, of our processes are controlled.

More good information is available at A good reference
book is "Software Requirements" by Karl Wiegers.

Diane Evans
Requirements Analyst
Rosetta Inpharmatics

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