Documenting development procedures is an important technique in quality assurance. The process of documentation can be time-consuming and is often regarded as unexciting but the potential advantages are significant:
The types of document which are typically produced in the course of product development are:
Documentation is only of use if it is in a form which is readable and accessible by those to whom it is addressed. It is important for the development team to have a clear understanding of the content of these documents and this is facilitated by good channels for communication within the team and for the circulation of documents.
- Documents supply everyone with a common point of reference, enabling the design team (which includes the client) to say, 'Yes, that is what I meant', or 'No, we've a problem here'.
- Problems may be spotted which may have proven more costly to correct at a later stage.
Often document production is an after-the-event affair, produced to conceal a more craft-oriented or tacit approach to design behind a methodological veneer. The extent to which project documentation actually serves its purpose requires much further research.