12 Jul 2019
Technical documentation in quality management

Technical Documentation in Quality Management

Quality serves as the backbone of excellence in an organisation. Trust is the building block of stature for an organization. In today’s world of globalization with highly skilled professionals, the customer’s focus is on a quality product, as quantity alone is not good enough.

The organization’s profit relies solely on the quality of its product. Documentation plays a key role in quality management. It is an important medium for answering questions and clearing doubts. Poor documentation is very likely to affect the product quality. Proper documentation will save the organization time and avoid waste of man hours.

Each milestone in the project needs to be properly planned and documented so that it can then serve as a guide during the entire process of quality management. The documents should be regularly reviewed, updated and tested for usability to ensure quality and standards. Proper documentation also serves as an important tool in tracing records for quality audits.

Documentation is necessary right from the pre-development phases and throughout the entire software development life cycle.

Requirement gathering phase:
• The documentation at this phase should contain product outline according to the client requirements.
• A rough project schedule is also created at this stage.
• Constraints like time and cost and also the feasibility of the project are considered while documenting project schedule.

Specification Phase:
• Once the requirements are clearly understood, a software requirements specification document (SRS) is to be prepared by the quality control team.
• The SRS must be have a clear description of the users interaction with the software system.
• All milestones should be clearly indicated in the document.
• The inputs to the system and the expected outputs are to be clearly documented to avoid any ambiguity.
• The specification document of the product will be considered as the contract. The product is to be delivered after making sure that it satisfies all the specifications.
• This document should be thoroughly checked for its accuracy as it plays a vital role in the testing and maintenance phase.
• The pre-conditions and the test environment required should be clearly documented as this document serves as a reference for writing test cases.
• The SRS is to be kept updated as and when there is a change in product specifications.

Design Phase:
• The design document should have clear illustrations of the UI designs as per the client specifications.
• This document needs to be reviewed by the client to avoid confusion or complications in the upcoming phases.
• Detailed design specification diagrams and entity relationship diagrams are also required to provide clear view of the product.
• Use case diagrams to indicate users interactions with the system should also be documented at this stage.
• The design document should contain proper description of the proposed server architecture, the platforms supported, etc.

Implementation Phase:
• Documentation during this phase should contain the overall scope of how the project is to be implemented.
• The database schema, the constraints, constants used need to be documented correctly for future reference.
• Source code documentation is also required for reference during bug fixing and/ enhancement.

Testing Phase:
• Test scenarios need to be documented considering the specification document.
• Test cases/scripts are to be systematically written for every possible test scenario.
• Any assumptions and the pre-conditions are to be clearly indicated.
• Test report is required to show consolidated test results. This document is the summary of final test results.

Deployment / Maintenance:
• User manuals should be written taking into consideration the target audience.
• Points written should be organized and written in proper hierarchy.
• Every instruction should be clearly mentioned irrespective of whether the users have prior knowledge about the product or not.
• Guidelines for implementation and code migration are also required to be documented for the System Administrator’s reference.

Here are some good practices to be followed while writing a technical document:
• Proofreading should be done to eliminate any grammar and/or spelling errors.
• The documentation should be in a consistent format. A standard outline should be followed every time to ensure consistency.
• The documents should be regularly updated and the latest ones are to be circulated.
• Facts documented should be correct and complete. Any ambiguities should be avoided.
• Assumptions should be avoided while documenting facts and figures.
• The important points need to be highlighted so that it is easy to navigate through the entire document.
• The information mentioned should be clear, accurate and understandable.
• Font styles and formatting should be consistent over the entire document.

 

Shruti Kossambe

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