Re: How much documentation for 1000 hours of programming

Subject: Re: How much documentation for 1000 hours of programming
From: Victor Chapel <victor -at- TRCINC -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 29 Mar 1996 09:27:14 -0400

> From: Sally Yeo <sallyyeo -at- EXECPC -dot- COM>
> Subject: Re: How much documentation for 1000 hours of programming?
> <snip>
> When you have done a thorough study to determine the variables, if you
> have a new effort to develop a somewhat "normal" effort (for instance,
> not object-oriented technology) then a guideline of 10% of the total
> effort for documentation.

Thanks to Sally for bringing up documenting object-oriented
technology. Our company develops distributed object computing
systems, and the "programmer" to writer ratio is about 1:8. I
quote programmer because we have very few strict programmers.
Before a single line is coded, architects, modelers, and
designers are busy collecting requirements and writing the design
and architecture. In a normal programming environment it would
be closer to 1:10 or 1:12. The difference happens on the front
end of creating an object-oriented system. For a typical project
we need 6 docs before coding can begin: Project Charter,
Requirements, System Architecture, Technical Architecture,
Integration Architecture, Information Architecture (with object
method diagrams such as Fusion, OMT, or Unified) and a Software
Development Process. All these need to be ready within 3 to 6
months of the start date. Then during and after coding for 1 to
3 years we create 6 or so programming docs before turning the
project over to the client.

So our object approach is front-loaded with documentation, which,
if everything goes as planned--as in "never"--the preparation
should pay off over the course of the project because everything
is laid out for the actual development. Before coding the doc
effort is 1 writer per 4 or 5 architects, then during coding it
falls back to 1 writer per 9-12 developers. All this means to
me is that if you want to be slightly more important to creating
the actual systems (and also more abused) get yourself into an
object technology project. But be prepared for a bumpy ride since
implementing objects is still new for most people and businesses.

Victor Chapel The Technical Resource Connection Tampa
victorc -at- trcinc -dot- com 1-800-872-2992 Fax: 813-891-6138
Always hiring writers experienced in object technology.

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