SDLC Documents

bowemc
bowemc used Ask the Experts™
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Hi,

Taking each stage of the SDLC (for example waterfall), what documents would you expect to produce in each stage and what would those documents contain.

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I'd recommend RUP (Rational Unified Process), but will discuss waterfall too below.  For RUP, which is an OO methodology (targeting C++, C#, Java, ...), UML (Unified Modeling Language) is used.  This is a large topic, but the highlights are that you create:

- A use case model.  This organizes your requirements into "uses" of the system.  These provide the inputs to follow on development, project planning, and testing. The use cases and model diagram provide a set of documents which can be used iteratively and in parallel.

- Class diagrams.  These show a static view of the concepts (classes), behaviors (methods), and relationships between concepts (e.g. a Person has-an Account).

- Sequence diagrams.  These are dynamic flows of messages (method invocations) across the classes in the system, in time order.

The class and sequence (and other) diagrams and descriptions are often included in high-level and low-level design documents, on a use case by use case basis.

Those are the main ones that are pretty much always used.  There are many others, most notably state and component diagrams.  Read more about UML in reference below (and elsewhere - Fowler's UML Distilled is a good book).

Waterfall is a far-less successful methodology in my experience.  It is very fixed in its orientation - it assumes the impossible: that you will get things right the first time.  That said, you would have these documents:

- Requirements spec.  Monolithic document that lists all requirements.

- Design spec.  Monolithic document that details high-level design of components, functions, ...

- Detailed design spec.  Goes deeper into things such as pseudo-code for functions.

My recommendation, even if following a waterfall process, is to follow RUP (even if a function-oriented language is the target).

Best of luck. Mark

References:
UML - http://www.objectmentor.com/resources/articles/umlClassDiagrams.pdf
RUP - http://www.ambysoft.com/downloads/managersIntroToRUP.pdf
Waterfall methodology - http://www.cyberarmy.net/library/article/202

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