Don't Make Me Document It


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(By Info-Tech Analyst Howard Kiewe - Printed with permission from Processor magazine www.processor.com).

I hate paperwork, even if I'm doing it in electronic documents. You know, those administrative tasks intended to track, measure, and update, but which invariably consume my day, distracting me from coming up with that BIG IDEA, or just getting this column written. It’s not that I think paperwork shouldn’t be done; I just don't want to have to do it. And in software development, there is plenty of paperwork: revising requirements after implementation begins, documenting code reviews, describing bugs, updating test cases, etc.

The Present State of Development

Most development teams I've worked in have cobbled together a few tools to capture and manage this kind of data. They write requirements in Word or Excel, or if they are more sophisticated, they use a requirements gathering tool. They manage code in a software configuration management tool. They record bugs in an issue tracking database. Team members then communicate about these work artifacts by e-mail, chat, phone, and in face-to-face meetings.

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