"Key Frustrations in
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A product of:



The "life cycle" of documentation covers its existence from conception to obsolescence.

The life cycle evolves through successive iterations of the first four phases listed below:

  1. Requirements. Encompasses definition, statement of objectives, preliminary analysis, functional specifications, design constraints.
  2. Design. Includes outline definition, format definition, etc.
  3. Implementation. Entails writing, editing, integration of various components, and proofing.
  4. Testing. Includes verification and evaluation against the requirements.
  5. Use and Maintenance. Begins upon delivery and user acceptance.

The maintenance process can be divided into the following steps:

___ Determination of need for change
___ Submission of change request
___ Review of proposed changes
___ Requirements analysis
___ Approval/rejection of change request
___ Scheduling of task(s)
___ Design analysis and review
___ Writing and editing
___ Testing
___ Standards audit
___ User acceptance

The process of changing documentation is frequently complex and may involve many people. The steps above outline the maintenance process which begins when the need for change arises and ends after the user accepts the modifications.

Although the maintenance process above is presented as linear, there are many steps and iterative loops. For example, the change request may need clarification; the design reviews may require more analysis; the standards audit may require design changes and rewriting; the users may fail to accept the results; etc.

The Maintainer must make changes within the context of the existing documentation, often the most challenging problem for maintenance people. The older the documentation, the more challenging and time consuming the maintenance effort.

A maintenance effort is typically performed in less time than a development effort.

So, while ...

  • a development effort may span several months ...
  • corrective maintenance may be required within hours and ...
  • perfective maintenance is typically performed in cycles of 1-6 months.



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