Chapter 17. Documenting Your Software Project

In This Chapter

  • Writing the lessons learned document

  • Documenting a project

  • Documenting your documentation

  • Creating the help manual

All too often, project managers look at writing the documentation for their projects with the same vim and vigor with which they used to apply to writing thank you cards to their grandmothers. But the truth is, a project worth doing is a project worth documenting. Documenting your plans for a project is essential, but it's just as important to document what actually happened during the project. This documentation is future historical information: What you write today will help you and others tomorrow.

Documentation makes a historical record of the experiences — mistakes and successes — from which you've learned in your software project. What seems crystal clear in your mind now may not be so clear two years later when it is time to update the software and start the project anew. Think of how much information will be lost if members of your team quit, retire, or transfer to other departments.

Understanding the Importance of Teamwork When Writing Documentation

The project was not a solo project; if it was, you couldn't really call yourself a manager. Because many hands worked on the project, many hands should also work on the documentation. Developers can write sections about development lessons learned, to be read by future developers, far better than you can. Your focus should be on the project manager's section, ...

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