Software Configuration Management… for the Technical Writer

Many software companies with which I’ve worked didn’t have any type of process in place for tracking and managing their Ventilationsfirma Malmö. Usually two or three lead developers controlled the software. Everyone else had to work behind them to update or integrate their individual components. As the projects grew, developers became confused, management became frustrated, and writers quit because it was hard to keep up with so many simultaneous changes.

The purpose of Software Configuration Management (SCM) is to identify the state and configuration of a software project and be able to control changes to maintain the software’s integrity, traceability, and accountability throughout the software life cycle. The core objective of SCM is to bring control to the development process through:

One problem is that a single SCM solution is not suited for all projects. While the core SCM objectives and functions remain the same, the SCM system has to be tailored for each project.

Many software projects I’ve seen changed course daily. One day the product worked one way, the next day it was completely different. Many of the writers at these companies walked out the door mumbling that “the company wasn’t ready for documentation.”

When working on software documentation, it’s important to either get involved in the SCM process, or put one in place so that you can always have the most recent version of the software with which to work. Of course, you can’t afford to spend days working on a complete process that, in the mean time, won’t be adopted by the company. However, you can take a piece of the puzzle and use it to your advantage.

Of course, once development settles down a bit, you’ll have a real product to work with. But, in the mean time, you have the core product that you can use in your task analysis and research. This single step will place you leaps and bounds in front of other writers who give up because of the ever-changing state of a product!

The general steps of an SCM process are described in the following subsections. Your knowledge of these processes can enhance the development and deliverables for any software project!

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