5 Worthwhile Tips to Improve Software Documentation

A Quick Guide towards Metadata Management Software

About 66% of software development projects go over budget. It’s not uncommon for cost overruns to reach 100% of the initial budget.

Software developers are always trying to find ways to stay within budget. They try different project management methods.

No matter what they try, communication seems to be an issue. There’s a gap in the transfer of knowledge between the project manager and other developers. That leads to redundancies, wasted efforts, and other costly issues.

How can you improve your software documentation process? Keep reading to discover a few tips to create better software documentation.

  1. Use Visuals

It’s one thing to write down every single process in the software documentation lifecycle. It’s another to show people what you mean.

Images, charts, and maps give readers a clear indication of the direction of the software project. They allow your readers to refer to the documentation as a quick reference guide as they’re working.

  1. Think Like Your Audience

Who is the audience of your software documentation? They could be end-users. The audience might consist of contractors who don’t have institutional knowledge of your organization.

Put yourself in the shoes of who will read and use the software documentation. What are the most important things they need to know?

Make sure you include those elements when writing the documentation.

  1. Handle Problems Before They Become Problems

Great software documentation anticipates questions and problems. These issues get addressed in the documentation so developers know how to handle tricky situations.

Write down the most common questions and issues. Then write workarounds for each problem. This step keeps the project moving no matter what.

  1. Keep PDF Versions

PDF versions enable you to maintain the integrity of the documentation compared to other formats. Visual data like charts and images can get distorted in Word documents and other formats.

That adds a layer of security to your documentation as well. You can use password protection to protect your intellectual property.

  1. Test Your Software Documentation

Your software documentation process isn’t that far from your software development process. You still have to know your audience and test your documentation.

Get a couple of people who are likely to use your documentation. Have them go through it and work through the software project.

This simple test tells you what works with your documentation and what needs further clarification.

Manage Your Software Documentation Process

Software development can be full of issues that result in delays and additional costs.

Detailed software documentation is a simple solution to these issues. Software development is so much easier when documentation is clear, concise, and keeps everyone informed.

The tips in this article give you a few ways to keep your software documentation engaging and helpful. Follow them and you’ll have a smooth software project.

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