Written on 7th September 2015 - 2 minutes

Why write good software documentation: five key benefits

Why write good software documentation: five key benefits

When you get something new, do you ever have that eureka moment of not realising what you’ve been missing out on? It feels good, right? And that’s exactly how our clients feel when we help them document their systems.

Often clients approach us because they need help supporting a complex bespoke system or want to make changes to it but their developers don’t understand the underlying structure or code. They may also want to integrate new software but fear the old system will break. System documentation is what holds the key to overcoming all of these challenges.

5 important reasons to have good system documentation

1. Anyone can understand your software

Although common programming languages are used for software development it is often the case that individual developers will create lines of code with narrative. This narrative will not always make sense to others which can time for future developers to decipher. Clear and concise system documentation provides a single source of truth for developers

2. Flexibility for future development

The system being documented means you are not tied to the original developer or supplier if future developments or enhancements to the system are required. Well documented systems will also save time and reduce errors in future if you need to integrate with other business applications.

3. Understand the compatibility of your IT systems

Often when a system is developed it will have specific requirements for compatibility whether this is in terms of access device or server technology. These requirements can sometimes change over time so it’s important that you are aware of the systems compatibility – not knowing could mean a move to a new server that the system won’t work on.

4. Retaining control of your IT

Without documentation you could be at the mercy of the supplier or developer that originally built the system. Clear documentation means you retain control. At any stage in the future or even during the development process itself, another supplier can take over.

5. It’s full cycle

System documentation is critical throughout the software development life cycle. Thorough documentation should exist from architecture and design to the technical aspects and source code to user processes and procedures. That way you’ll always know why the system was developed and how.

If you’re concerned about the health of your system documentation or want to check that it will sustain your future plans, get in touch with us today.

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