Systems Development Summary

Using a checklist as shown in Exhibit 1 can help to get things started. The point is that basic documentation imposes order on every development effort. Increased order allows for more thorough and consistent management of development processes. More thorough and consistent management results in more realistic schedules and staffing for future development work, whether it is new application development, legacy system conversions, maintenance work, or additional types of documentation for the marketplace.

Exhibit 1. Basic Documentation Checklist

Item No.





Application purpose statement

Business reason for application Limitations and capabilities Point of contact

Exaplanation of application components and what they do


Input and output requirements

Database tables used by application

Files used by application

Internal interfaces

Sending application with file names sent

External interfaces

Sending system with file names sent


Ha rdware requirements


Disk space


Printer name


Software requirements

Operating system


Item No.




Send to interface applications

Receive from interface applications


Location of code and COTS

Name of machine

Name of directory

Name of files


Version descriptions

Name of application

Name of each program changed

Recompile complete

Description of changes made for each of the programs

Name of database table change

Description of changes made to each table

Establishing a practice of basic documentation provides ancillary benefits in that contract employees can be brought up to speed faster and their work can be checked and managed better. New technology can be adopted into environments more readily. Short- and long-term planning and bids for funding can be developed more meaningfully and documented more completely. In all, just sticking with the basics creates a win-win situation for everyone from management, to developers, to users.

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