Friday, December 08, 2006

My Comments On Their mail.

Note: Please read the earlier blogs for better understaning

Yes, as Ari said cost is an important factor, considering the fact that the development time of the project is less than six months, like most projects in SME. And it does not make sense having a technical writer for an Iterative model where customer customizes the product as and when it is being developed. And it's needless for the company to worry about having a technical or a functional document. But the client should be smart enough to ask for some kind of technical document, once the project is over. A developer can do this and he is a best person because, there are very few developers in such a project and he knows it better. And document writing should be the last thing that you can do.

If I remember it correctly Kalai was handling a Mobile project along with the other dude (his name was barbarian in CS). The project was initially developed in some language and they wanted to convert it into a different language (or some shit like that). I remember they were struggling to understand the source code for a very long time. A document at this point would have made the job lot simpler by greatly reducing the analysis time and would eventually increase the productivity.

Let us consider bigger projects like EF and Thomson. The development phase for these projects usually takes almost a year and the maintenance will runs for decades. In such cases a huge amount of money is being on the development. So the cost factor should not be an issue. These projects cannot use iterative Model. You cannot customize it during the development stage; doing so is a potential problem to code and the development of the project. Usually waterfall model is chosen, not because it will ensure success of the project but to ensure it does not fail.

So for bigger accounts it is dangerous to iterate or change the functional spec during the development stage. This is where processes, design patterns and frameworks come into play. This is done during the System analysis phase, an important phase in the software development life cycle. Functional specification, High level design and low level design documents are first charted out before starting the development phase. For example a good SRS will spec out, the Data flow, a class diagram, its methods, its parameters and even the minute iota like local variables, which make the development a lot easier.

So ideally a technical writer has to do these documents coordinating with the project lead and other technical leads. A developer is not the right person to do it. The only documentation that a developer should do is to writing clear, simple and grammatically error free comments in between the codes. Good commenting practice will technically solve whole load of shit. So the bottom line is to, write clean, readable code in such a way that it doesn't need any comments to understand. Nicer the code lesser the comments.

So cost is not an issue for bigger projects. So it's the companies that should decide the need for the technical writers depending on the type of the project and the type of the development technique they implement.


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