Documentation serves two crucial purposes: firstly, to ensure that project requirements are met, and secondly, to provide traceability by recording what tasks have been completed, who completed them, and when they were completed. However, it can be challenging to determine where to begin with this process. Therefore, let’s establish a clear starting point.
What Is Project Documentation?
Project documentation is a critical part of any successful project.
It is created by a project manager to manage, control and deliver the project value. Each project must have documentation stored either on the Client’s side or Company’s side.
In other words, it is recording the key project details and producing the documents required to implement it successfully.
The list of documents varies by each project. The essential three functions of documentation substantiate it:
– to make sure that project requirements are fulfilled;
– to establish traceability concerning what has been done, who has done it, and when;
– to create better visibility of processes.
Benefits of Project Documentation
- Faster new employee onboarding. Good project documentation gives new team members access to all the knowledge that has been collected throughout the projects, both past and ongoing. New team members can immediately understand decisions made in the past and find relevant information without asking others on the team over many weeks.
- Better cross-team alignment. Comprehensive documentation provides a clear and transparent understanding of everyone’s work, preventing scattered decision-making and discussions through email and chat. This, in turn, reduces meeting time and the likelihood of duplicated work.
- More effective knowledge sharing. The knowledge and understanding gained from a previous project can be applied to new projects as valuable insights and lessons learned. Capturing and sharing this knowledge can help you develop new best practices, prevent repeated mistakes, and continuously improve your team’s performance.
Basic Documentation For a Project/Phase
During the first few meetings, all known information that a Client (and/or Product Owner) possesses must be collected and stored within standardized documents. This is the period when primary business need is defined initially.
A document referred to as the project overview statement, which is also known as the project charter, contains the fundamental planning elements of a project and serves as the basis for the project.
A project charter is a formally issued document by the project initiator or sponsor that formally authorizes the existence of a project and empowers the project manager to apply organizational resources to project activities.
Statement Of Work
SOW is made at the outset of a project and outlines everything that needs to go into your project, including the business case.
The statement of work is a legally binding document that captures and defines all the aspects of the execution of the project scope of work. It contains the activities, deliverables, and timetable for the project. It’s a highly detailed work contract that defines the terms and conditions agreed upon between parties and lays the groundwork for the project plan.
A legally enforceable agreement that creates a private relationship and maintains confidentiality is called an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement). The parties signing the agreement agree that sensitive information they may obtain will not be made available to others.
➣ A Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) recognizes a confidential association between two or more entities and safeguards the information they exchange from being disclosed to external parties.
➣ This type of agreement is commonly used as a prerequisite before companies engage in discussions regarding possible collaborations.
➣ Stakeholders on both sides are often required to sign NDAs to protect confidential business information.
➣ A confidentiality agreement is another term that can be used to refer to an NDA.
➣ There are two main types of non-disclosure agreements: mutual and non-mutual.
Master Service Agreement
MSA is a contract made between two or more parties in which they both agree to most of the terms used to govern any future agreements or future transactions.
Like many other types of contracts, the Master Service Agreement is created to outline generic terms, such as:
· Business ethics
· Corporate social responsibility
· Dispute resolution
· Geographic location
· Intellectual property ownership
· Family access
· Network access
· Product warranties
· Payment terms
· Venue of law
The main job of the Project Manager at this point is to define all stakeholders who may impact the project in any way. He should also analyze the known scope, divide it into phases, and develop separate stages for project success. It would be nice to have a Business Analyst involved.
A Tech Lead validates the proposed solution within given resources and constraints. He defines the preliminary tech stack which will be used for development.
It is the right time to agree upon the quality and its measurement. Also, the Definition of Done (DoD) is an essential part of any project phase. The Definition of Done (DOD) provides a checklist that usefully guides pre-implementation activities: discussion, estimation, and design. It limits the cost of rework once a feature has been accepted as “done”. An explicit contract limits the risk of misunderstanding and conflict between the development team and the Client.
To sum up, the steps above, creating a Project/Agile Charter to determine responsibilities and document high-level details is required.
Then comes the most challenging and interactive part, project planning, creating PMP (project management plan), and determining the required documents.
The resource planning process is an essential part when it comes to commitment.
A team creates a backlog of functional pieces to work with, usually broken down into tasks by following the plan. The main point is to see whether the scope can be completed simultaneously with other tasks.
If any is required, the next important piece falls under procurements or would be more beneficial than custom development.
Business Requirements Document
This is a complete description of the system to be developed. It contains all interactions users will have with the system and non-functional requirements.
The Business Requirements Document (BRD) is an important tool for facilitating communication and collaboration between the business stakeholders and the project team to ensure successful project delivery. It helps to ensure that the project meets the business’s objectives and that the project team clearly understands the requirements associated with the project. The BRD also serves as a reference document for the project team throughout the project’s lifecycle and helps to minimize scope creep and changes that may arise during project execution.
Stakeholder Management Document
A Stakeholder Management Document is a formal document that outlines the stakeholders involved in a project and the strategies for managing their needs, expectations, and engagement throughout the project’s lifecycle.
It establishes clear guidelines for communication among the project’s stakeholders, management of their expectations, involvement & impact.
The Stakeholder Management Document also helps to minimize risks and issues associated with stakeholder management by identifying potential conflicts, developing communication strategies, and outlining how to address stakeholder concerns and feedback. It is an important reference document for the project team and helps to ensure that the project’s stakeholders are engaged and satisfied with the project outcomes.
Sprint Planning Document
The process is represented and documented as the list of items agreed by the team to be completed at the end of the iteration. It could be reflected in the forecast planning.
It is created during the Sprint Planning meeting and serves as a guide for the project team during the sprint. The document includes details such as the sprint goal, backlog items, acceptance criteria, and the team’s capacity for the sprint. It helps the project team to prioritize the backlog items, break down the work into actionable tasks, and manage the sprint’s progress. The Sprint Planning Document is a living document that is updated throughout the sprint and serves as a reference document for the project team to ensure the sprint is completed on time and within scope.
It is worth stressing the importance of having an alternative plan if unpredictable circumstances occur regarding risk management. It is continuous and seamlessly integrated within the other processes.
If we work with Agile methodologies, estimating the backlog is easier and quicker, at least for the first iteration (Sprint). If it is not Agile, we are agile and adjust the processes.
In addition to that, it must be clear to a Client that the accumulation of technical debt must be avoided at any cost by using such practices as code refactoring. It must be part of the regular development process.
The complete schedule of deliverables depends on the backlog items estimation.
The project budget considers the needs, resources, risks, quality assurance, KPIs, and other costs.
Change Management Document
This document states exactly what must be changed, how it might alter any pre-existing plans, existing functionality for your project, and how to plan the mitigation of the disruption that the change could cause to the project creation process.
Risk Management Document
This document is used to consider the potential project risks involved and to record the best ways that you can respond to them as a team.
Our goal is to quickly make adjustments, follow the plan, and work with the team effectively leading it.
There are quite a few metrics regarding this point, like team building activities and the level of customer satisfaction to be measured regularly.
It is a common practice to get feedback on the completed work, challenges, and achieved milestones to match with the Client’s needs and/or requests.
Comparison of KPIs with baselines leads to reacting to changes and reviewing the risks to manage contingencies. Periodical confirmation that we are heading in the right direction is the green light to managerial activities and keeping the team motivated.
During the monitoring and controlling activities, the project manager oversees the processes and may create other documents on-demand. We use documentation, such as a Stakeholder Communication Document, project roadmap, and project status report to ensure that the project work is implemented according to the plan. Feel free to use other documents to keep a project or individual work on track (e.g., OKR).
Before any celebrations commence following the completion of a project or phase, it is essential to enter into the closure process formally in order to bring everything to a close.
Recording the lessons learned casually would be helpful as we may create company policies based on them.
Another informative document contains the credentials for different services we may use while working on the project. Keeping and/or handing over the code clean and safe is our responsibility.
After the final Client’s feedback is given, we may consider that the phase is fully completed and all information is properly recorded for future reference.
The closing activities usually end up with greetings of successful completion and open ability of the subsequent improvements, updates, and maintaining the Client’s success.
Sprint Review Document
It represents the visual part of deliverables done during the Sprint. Also, another essential part of the meeting is to receive feedback, which has to be recorded and processed.
Sprint Retrospective Document
This document sets out what all have learned from the project as a team. It gives everyone an opportunity to put forward formal suggestions for what might go differently next time.
Project Support Flow
This artifact is a guide and sort of after-sale agreement with warranties explaining how to work and process stakeholders’ requests. This can be also included in the SOW or other agreements.
Project Closure Document
This document is written confirmation that all the invested parties approved the completed project or phase. In essence, they concur that the project has stayed on schedule and has fulfilled the expectations of all parties involved.
In conclusion, project documentation is an important aspect of any project, providing a record of the project’s scope, plans, progress, and outcomes. It serves as a reference for all stakeholders and helps to ensure effective communication, planning, and control. Good project documents should be clear, concise, and comprehensive, and should be easily accessible and up-to-date. By maintaining effective documentation of a project, project managers can improve project performance and ensure successful outcomes.
Many of the world’s biggest corporations, SMEs, and technology innovators rely on DevCom as a trusted technology partner. Through every stage of the product life cycle, DevCom is a brain-trust dedicated to forward-thinking.
You can contact us if you are unsure where to begin with your project.