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16/09/2008 / dimarzionist

Agile project and amount of Documentation

Here is accepted answer on my provocation on “Stack Overflow”.


Create documentation that speeds up communication and helps you move faster. Let the principle of “Mutual Benefit” guide you.

  • Adoption documents: “NewPerson handbook”. Getting started with any “framework” or niche tools you are using.
  • Also document team conventions if any.
  • Instructions for Setting up a development machine is another good one. Source Control server settings, Installation paths for tools used.
  • Product Maps: You would need product design roadmaps – block diagrams of various top-level components and the like. Tests can serve as the always updated specs – ground zero documentation.. but you need a simple word doc … bulleted list of high level product needs / features.
  • “Here the dragons lie” – any known minefields with products (esp. legacy), ‘Don’t tread here’ areas that you need to be careful while changing.. e.g. If you change something here, make sure you have it reviewed by Y and Z before checking in.

Core Metric: If you find no one on the team complaining “WTH? Why didnt anyone document this? I’m stuck.. How am I supposed to proceed on this?” – you’re good.

  • If the team finds that they have been drawing a class diagram or sequence diagram over and over, that’s proof that it is a useful artifact. Soon someone will make a sticky copy and save it somewhere to save time. Over time , the more useful artifacts would build up.
  • Don’t pester the team to churn out documents no one else will read…(No “This is mandated by the process”)
  • Don’t create documents that are 40-50 pages long. No one will read them.. “Take more time and write a shorter letter” 5-6 pages max.

Finally as for TFS, once again let the team tell you. If it seems to be working well.. continue if not find alternatives & switch.


by Gishu


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