Behind the Scenes of Software Development: The Crucial Role of Technical Documentation

In this article, we explain why technical documentation is extremely important for software development and how its absence can negatively impact the process.

Mykola (Nick) Hrytsaienko
September 21, 2023

Technical documentation is a crucial element of software development. It comprises a comprehensive set of descriptions for functions, architecture, design, algorithms, and test scenarios. Different sections of it are created by various team members: developers, testers, analysts, managers.

The absence of technical documentation has an extremely negative impact both on the initial development process and on the further development of the software. The Focus21 team encountered this when they needed to refine the order management platform for Superior Memorials, which we discussed in a separate case study.

Code Understanding. Software today is often developed by large teams, each member responsible for a separate set of capabilities. In this case, technical documentation helps to understand exactly how each part of the software works, and which dependencies it uses.

Facilitating Testing. Technical documentation contains information about the software functionality that needs testing, as well as test scenarios and criteria for successful test execution. This eases the work of the relevant specialists and maximizes the efficiency of obtaining results.

Simplifying Debugging. Debugging software involves the process of finding and fixing errors. Technical documentation is designed to assist in this process, as it provides information on how a specific application is supposed to work. It helps identify areas where errors may occur.

Technical documentation also provides an opportunity to understand open-source software, which can be used when working on one's own projects.

Ensuring Consistency. The more specialists work on a specific project, the harder it is to ensure the consistency of their actions and the adequate operation of the common software code. In this case, technical documentation helps establish standards for code writing, variable naming, commenting, and so on.

Simplifying Scaling. Software often needs to be scaled or modified to add new features, rework old ones, and improve performance. Technical documentation helps to understand exactly how the entire project is structured, which simplifies all the described processes.

Support. After launch, the software will inevitably need support and maintenance. In this case, technical documentation will help specialists understand exactly how the system works, which will facilitate the identification of possible problems and their quicker resolution.

Legislative Requirements. When it comes to developing financial or medical applications, government legislation may require documentation that confirms compliance with certain standards and procedures. We encountered this when developing the TAS Platform software, which we discussed in this case study.

In general, creating technical documentation is a very important stage in creating software for the digital transformation of any business without exceptions. It helps not only in the initial development but also in further support, scaling, reworking, updating. It ensures a better understanding of the code and consistency of actions.

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