Benefits to documentation (yes there are some)

When application documentation is given meaningful names and numbers, it can be found easily. Software organizations need to establish a standard naming convention for documents and the application.  Documents need to be named using some agreed upon standard and a numbering system. 

By definition a complex software application is difficult to understand and needs to be documented well.  Yet, I have heard comments like, “our software is too complex to document.”   If your software application is too complex to document, then the software application is too complex to understand and your software needs to be simplified.  If your software application is too complex to document, then how will the complexity be communicated?

 No one wants to be a software archeologist.  One problem with unorganized information is it can’t be found, so there is a lot wasted time spent pecking around looking for the right document or trying to find the right person to talk to.   Another problem is if your documentation can’t be found, then redundant functionality is often created.  Of course creating redundant functionality is a waste of time.    The real benefit to the organization of documentation is reducing wasted time and spending more productive time on projects.  This, of course, improves profitability. 

 Another benefit to organized documents is the ability to reuse parts of the application documentation.   Reuse has been a hot topic in software development for sometime and it should not be limited to just the code.   Everything related to past projects can be re-used including requirements, test plans, test data, even project plans can be reused.  Reuse is a good idea and it does improve both productivity and quality.   Artifacts that can’t be found can’t be reused.  Those companies that have mastered reuse see a natural increase in their productivity and profitability.

 Read More at Reboot! Rethinking and Restarting Software Development

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