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The Importance of Documentation in Software Projects

Documentation is essential for the use and maintenance of software. It can improve the efficiency of software development, ensure the quality of the software, and play a role in guiding, helping, and confusing the use of the software. Especially in the maintenance work, the document is indispensable material.

Modern software development has moved towards socialized mass production. For a software development team, communication and cooperation between people and the management of software projects have become inevitable.word to pdf converter online free i love pdf Thus, the concept of "software engineering" has arisen. It is a methodology to manage the software development process with the idea of engineering management. In software engineering, the definition of software is "code + documentation". Only code or only documentation can not be called complete software. In addition, documentation is as important as code.

The common development and research processes used in software construction engineering include requirements analysis, outline design, detailed planning and design, coding and unit testing, interface testing, system functionality testing, maintenance of application information and several other sub-processes. These sub-processes need to produce some corresponding documents. Code is only generated in the "coding" this stage, this social stage of time-consuming and cost sometimes we even less than 30% of the workload of software product developers, and in order to be able to produce code to achieve the need to deal with a lot of preparatory work and finishing work need to rely on the document to complete.

1. What is software documentation

Software documentation is a record of data and data media. In software projects, documentation is often used to describe and specify the design and implementation details of the software, indicating the use of software operating commands.

Documentation is a part of software and software without documentation is not called software. Software documentation occupies a prominent place and considerable workload in software development. High-quality, high-efficiency development, distribution, management and maintenance of documents, for the transfer of documents, changes, modifications, extensions and the use of software products to give full play to the benefits of the important significance.

2. Types of documents

From the production and use of the scope of view, the document can be divided into development documents, user documents, management documents 3 categories.

Development documents: development documents and the final product of the software technology is closely related to the responsible for describing and standardizing the software development process itself. It defines what the software needs to solve the problem, how to solve the problem, how to test and other key information.

User documentation: responsible for the use of software technology products, maintenance and other information systems to analyze the description, it is a user from the product to smooth use of electronic products the most effective tools.

Management Documentation: Responsible for the management of the software project development process and the description of information. Management documentation has nothing to do with the actual technology used in the software, but plays an important role in the information sharing and cooperation between members of a large project team. The existence of management documentation ensures the management of key factors in software project management, which can be effectively monitored and implemented.

3. The Role of Documentation

Improve the visibility of the software development process by recording the events in the development project in a readable form in the documentation.

Managers can use the recorded material as a basis for checking the progress of software development and development quality to realize software development project management.

Improve development efficiency. Software documentation enables developers to carefully consider work at all stages, synthesize trade-offs, and reduce rework. Errors and inconsistencies can be found in the early stages of development, facilitating timely corrections.

Serves as the work product and end marker for research and development technicians at a certain stage of development.

Records information related to the software development process in order to coordinate the development, use, and maintenance of future software.

It provides information about software operation, maintenance and training, which facilitates cooperation, communication and understanding among managers, developers, operators and users, and makes software development more scientific and effective.

Convenient for potential users to understand the functions of the software, performance and other indicators, for them to buy software to meet their needs to provide a basis.

4. Document management and maintenance

Documentation is the embodiment of software development specifications and guidelines. Poor quality documentation will make it difficult for users to understand, weaken the management of the software and increase the cost of software. Therefore, when using engineering principles and methods to guide software development and maintenance, full attention should be paid to the preparation and management of software documentation.


Documentation should be divided into the use of the object of study. According to different types, different cultural levels of use of the object, decide how to adapt to the development of their needs. Management of technical documents mainly through the management of staff-oriented society, the user documents mainly for the user, these two types of documents should not be like the development of documents (for the market to develop the relevant personnel) as too much use of system software-specific terminology.


The body of the document should be very precise. There should be no ambiguity in the description. The content of several documents in the same column should be consistent and not contradictory.


Documents should be concise and, if necessary, accompanied by appropriate diagrams to enhance their clarity.


Any document should be complete, independent, and self-contained. For example, the preface is a general introduction, the body is the centerpiece, and, if necessary, there are appendices, references, and so on.


There are practical differences in the size and complexity of different software projects, so we cannot generalize. The type of documentation should be determined according to the specific software development project.


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