Project Competency Documenting Plans Identifying Key Components

Documenting plans and other project artifacts, an important aspect of project management, is often forgotten or ignored. Documentation ranges from program code analysis and reverse engineering of legacy systems, to functional specifications, user manuals, and project plans.

Programmers, good at developing software and maintaining custom applications, usually have neither the skills nor the desire to write user manuals. When forced, programmers who write manuals do so at a level too complex for the average user to understand. Unfortunately, user documentation is often misunderstood, cannot be found in the manual or online, or is missing altogether.

Thoroughness, logical organization, and step-by-step instructions lead to usable documentation. It should never be, but often is, left until the end of the project.

For any project, large or small, short or long, a few basic documents are essential for success. They are the authority that transcends the tribal memory of the team. The core document is the project management plan—the team's map for the project journey. Other documents will also be needed depending on size, scope, and other requirements—they include a project charter, business justification, risk management plan, configuration management plan, SQA plan, communications plan, requirements and design specifications, a test plan, acceptance instrument, and post process analysis. The project management skill of how to prepare each of these documents is discussed throughout the book as they apply at each phase of the product development life cycle.

We will address documentation in at least ten chapters. Our case study illustrates the differences between a project drifting on fading memories, and one centered on a documented foundation.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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