This article deals about Technical writing and discusses about how you adapt the writing process to suit the different stages of Software Development Life Cycle’s (SDLC) needs and requirements.

Although there are many steps in SDLC, this article lists out only the important stages of SDLC. They are

1. Requirement Gathering

2. Analysis & Design

3. Coding

4. Code Review & Testing Phase

5. Launch (Alpha & Beta releases)

6. Maintenance

Every software project has its own customized SDLC framework.

All the proprietary framework versions are dependent upon the skeleton structure of the above SDLC framework.

Just like how every software project is dependent on SDLC, in the same way, every documentation project also is dependent on Document Development Life Cycle (DDLC). The DDLC framework is divided into the following steps.

1. Understand Product/project requirements

2. Doing Audience Analysis

3. Deciding about Output formats (.PDF, Online Help) & Documentation deliverables

4. Zeroing on Documentation & Graphic tools

5. Gathering the base or source documents

6. Template Designing

7. Time frame & Estimate

8. Identifying Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) & points of contact

9. Identifying peer, technical, and editorial reviewers

10. Creating the Documentation Plan

11. Draft Table of Contents (TOC)

12. Doing Content Development

13. Managing Review Cycles

14. Incorporating Review Comments

15. Final Output

All the preceding DDLC framework steps can be summarized into five subcategories, which in turn can be mapped to every step of SDLC. The five summarized subcategories are

1. Preparation of the Documentation Plan

2. Writing the content

3. Reviewing the content

4. Document Delivery

5. Document Maintenance

Since every Documentation project in software field depends upon the corresponding project/product, the SDLC framework of the same has to be mapped with the DDLC of the corresponding Documentation project.

Mapping of SDLC vs. DDLC

1. Analysis & Design Preparation of Documentation Plan

2. Coding Writing the content

3. Code Review & Testing Phase Review the content

4. Launch (Alpha & Beta releases) Document release

5. Maintenance Document maintenance (incorporating functionality enhancements & modifications)

As you can see from the preceding mapping, every process in SDLC is mapped with the corresponding process in DDLC. Most of the companies, particularly product companies, want the documentation ready by the time the product hits the market.

For the companies following Agile methodology, when the product is under development stage, there will be frequent enhancements, corrections, etc, during each iteration. Just like how the changes are incorporated in the code, in the same way, changes have to be done to the corresponding documentation to keep the deliverables up-to-date as per the client/market requirements.