How to Write, Version & File Software Project Documentation

Handy guide for software project managers & staff

Author: David Tuffley
Pages: 40
Language: English
Publication date: 22/04/2011
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Requirements for the content and layout of project documentation

How to Write, Version & File Software Development Documentation is a combined How To guide, incorporating three TCS standards; Document Production, Version Control and Filing.

The document production standard defines the minimum requirements for the content and layout of software project documentation. A uniform 'look and feel' to project documents which is based on sound formatting guidelines leads to greater ease of use and less error and a professional image.

The version and status identification standard defines the minimum information needed to maintain control over deliverables as they progress through the project lifecycle. By tagging a document and software deliverable with a version number, we are able to clearly differentiate between the current version and all previous versions. By providing the status, we are able to indicate the state of the deliverable to a more general audience. This standard therefore defines a uniform numbering and status convention applying to all versions of all deliverables. The benefit of using this standard for controlling version numbering and status is that we can achieve a high degree of consistency within printed materials and program files. A second benefit is the quick recognition of whether the material or file is an approved version or not.

The project document filing standard specifies the mechanism by which project documentation is identified and stored so as to make it accessible to all those who need to have access. In particular this standard provides a document register for all project documents, and a document identification and filing system which ensures that all documents and correspondence produced or collected during the life of a project.


The document production standard applies to all project documentation. That is defined as any material generated internally during any stage of a project. It includes the following:

Terms of Reference
Planning Documents
Requirement Specifications
Design Specifications
Business Cases
All Quality Management System documents
Other documents including Spreadsheets, Overhead Slides, Schedules and Presentations
User Manuals for software products and systems
Procedures and Work Instructions for Process Management
The version and status identification standard applies to the following:

The numbering convention for all printed materials
The numbering convention for all program components
A status assignment process for printed materials and program components
The project document filing standard applies to all project documentation and correspondence generated during the life of a project.


The outcome of using the document production standard will be the following:
All project documents will have a consistent format
All project documentation produced will conform to this standard
The objectives of the version and status identification standard are the following:

All deliverables are identified by a version numbering convention which is consistent with this standard
Each version of a deliverable is uniquely identified by its version number
All documents and software deliverables are assigned a recognisable status, which is consistent with this standard.
The objectives of the project document filing standard are the following:

All project documents will have a unique document identifi-cation number
The document identification number will indicate the docu-ment's location, the project it relates to, and subject matter

Contribution to IS Quality. Consistant, accurate project documentation is known to be a major factor contributing to Information Systems Quality. Document production, version control and filing is often not performed, contributing to a higher number of software defects which impact the real and perceived quality of the software, as well as leading to time and expense being spent on rework and higher maintenance costs.
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Dr. David Tuffley is a Senior Lecturer in Applied Ethics and SocioTechnical Studies at Griffith University’s School of ICT. A regular contributor to mainstream media on the social impact of technology, David is a recognized expert in his field. Before academia David worked as an IT Consultant in Australia and the United Kingdom, a role he continues to perform when not educating the next generation of IT professionals. David is an engaging science communicator of many years experience, David was a guest panelist in the 2017 World Science Festival and a wide variety of high profile public events.

David's academic background includes fields as diverse as Psychology, Anthropology, Classical Rhetoric and English literature at the University of Queensland. David is an engaging professional speaker and forum moderator of many years experience.

David's formal qualifications include a PhD (Software Engineering), Master of Philosophy (Information Systems), Grad Cert in Higher Education (all from Griffith University), Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology, English Literature, Anthropology (University of Queensland)

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