wmstrome at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 20 04:31:37 CEST 2010
John Culleton wrote:
In my days as a programming supervisor, it was considered
good form to create user documentation first, then do the
coding to fit. For program documentation (HIPO diagram,
flow chart, Decision Logic tables etc.) that was generally
done and approved before coding started.
In today's world things are different, but the person who
understands the functionality is still the best person to write
the user guide. I have never understood the unwillingness of
programmers to write user guides. After all, English (or
whatever) is just another language, like C or Python.
I agree that it is definitely good software engineering to create the user documentation first, although this was (and probably still is) not the "accepted" procedure. Look at most software development contracts that have payments based upon milestones. You will find most have the documentation at the end.
I did a number of experiments some years ago where complex programs were developed in the "traditional method": specifications > coding > debugging > and finally, documentation. If the order was changed to: user documentation/specifications > coding > debugging, I found that the development time was often cut in half because coding was somewhat faster, and debugging time was cut drastically. The resulting programs were generally much more robust and easier to maintain.
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