Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Rationale within Documentation

Getting documentation to keep pace with software development ...

"Though it could be an artifact of the industry I’m in (Web-based services and applications), I’ve encountered some interesting commonalities between the design organizations working within this space. Within the groups I’ve been a part of or worked with, the pace of creation borders on the fast and furious and the longevity of documentation is measured in months if not weeks.

In my experience, the average project spans about two weeks. This includes tasks with 1-3 day turnaround times and extended 2-6 month engagements. Each of these may generate multiple wireframes, mock-ups, use cases, storyboards, and more. These in addition to Product Requirement Documents, wikis, and style guides often constitute the full set of artifacts responsible for documenting the design decisions, supporting research, and final outcomes of a project.

In most cases, as soon as they are completed, these documents become out-of-date as soon as the next set of changes is pushed. Given the pace of production, there’s simply no time to update any artifacts with updates to the design or rationale. As a result, the product itself becomes the living embodiment of the most up-to-date documentation."    (Continued via Functioning Form)    [Usability Resources]

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