Resource Index > Technical Work > Documentation

Documentation

The resources in this section focus on documents created during and for the project itself. Some of these documents may end up in the product configuration documentation. Others are valuable only during the project itself and are usually archived once the project is complete.

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Examples of Typical Project Documents
The examples in this section include both common documents for development projects and sample documentation plans. This is just a partial list, of course. See our sections on planning and scheduling for more examples.

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  • Information Required To Get The Job Done
    An important document that goes along with the Standard Component List is the Vendor Data Requirements. This document is typically used when purchasing equipment and outlines to the vendor exactly what information you expect him to include with his quote. (See also Part 2 of this entry.)
  • Project Definition - Vision Document
    Is your project team having problems seeing the project horizon? Improve their eyesight with this agreement on the high-level purpose and scope of the project using a Vision Document.
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  • Software Project Plan
    A thorough and detailed template for creating a software development plan, with annotations. It includes making tradeoffs on scope, resources, schedule and other issues with a quality focus, Excel worksheets for capacity planning, and much more.
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  • Recording Key Project Decisions
    This file provides several different formats for recording key decisions in various contexts, as well as tips for using features in common project management and collaboration tools to maintain this critical piece of project history.
  • Development Process Quick Reference
    Documents don't do any good if they're buried, unused, in "The Big Binder." This excerpt from a company's Development Quick Reference shows a format and content examples for helping your team use your project management or product development process.

    Burning Questions: What is Project Documentation?
Guidelines and Suggestions for Creating and Managing Project Documentation
These resources will help you create documents crucial to your project's success, without drowning the team in paperwork and bureaucracy.

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  • The Benefits of Documentation
    When it comes to documentation, many with basic exposure to agile may think that the methodology means that project documentation is not created. Instead, it should be more about creating meaningful plans and if that means documentation, then it should also add value and be the proper amount.
  • Project Management Survival Tools - Part A
    A project manager faces many challenges on a daily basis. Each of us can use all the help we can get. For this post I'd like to focus on tools, because there's more to tools than Microsoft Project.
  • User Documentation Plan
    A checklist for planning the creation of the user and support documentation for a product. Examples of this documentation include user and service manuals, labeling text, box inserts, training manuals, etc.
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  • Powerful Project Visions for Developing Projects in Half the Time
    Using real project examples, this paper discusses how to arrive at a QRPD vision, what it must contain to deliver a super-urgent project on time, and how to combat the number one reason for project slippage: changing product definitions that force teams to deal with a moving target.
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Other Options
  • Check our book list for references on project documentation.
  • Project Kickoff Bundle - $35.95 (Free for subscribers)
    This bundle covers critical inputs to any Project Kickoff, plus tools for getting your team and executives working together quickly and effectively to clarify project goals.
  • Software Requirements Capture and Management - $67.45 (Free for subscribers)
    Guidelines for capturing different levels of requirements, then managing (and controlling!) changes are included, as well as formats for Requests for Proposal - requirements for outside parties.
Typical Documentation Issues and Answers to Common Questions
Even experienced project managers can fall into the trap of creating project documentation just gathers dust. Make your project documentation truly useful in controlling and guiding your project work.

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  • Barely Sufficient Documentation
    Some teams claim they are adopting agile, but are really just using that as an excuse to not do any documentation. This leads to the popular misconception that agility = no documentation, which then becomes a common argument against adopting agile.
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  • Getting Relevant to Get Results
    Project management tools and talk can leave technical contributors bored, resistant, or outright rebellious. Are project managers and technical team members hopelessly far apart? Or do we just have a language and perspective problem? Experience from the field says it's the latter.
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