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Project Documentation and Its Importance
It's a daunting task for a project manager to create and maintain documentation for a complex project. They are usually tasked with delivering high-quality work, and they have to manage various constraints during the course of a project.
Most project managers don't appreciate the importance of documentation during their busy schedules. However, even though they may not be able to spend a lot of time on the task, a good project manager should still keep in mind that documentation is very important.
What is Project Documentation?
The project documentation is a collection of documents created by the project manager during the development stage. The team is expected to follow specific guidelines and procedures in order to create these documents. The documentation should lay the foundation for the traceability, quality, and history of the project. It should also be well-organized and easy to read.
Project Documentation Uses
Most experienced project managers follow standard templates when it comes to creating their documents. They can also reuse their own business cases, project plans, status reports, and requirements to focus on their main objective of managing the project.
Details of Project Documentation Phases
Feasibility Report − A feasibility study is a process that aims to investigate and evaluate the potential of a project. It involves gathering information about the project's various components and factors, such as its technological and operational capabilities.
Project Charter − Sometimes referred to as the overview statement, a project charter is a document that lays the foundation for a project, including the planning stages. It serves as an anchor, guiding you through the project's milestones and holding you accountable for its objectives.
Requirement Specification − A requirement specification is a document that describes a system's requirements. It includes all the details about the system's interactions with users.
Design Document − The design document serves as a representation of the various components of a system, and it describes the system's architectural strategies. For high-level designs, the details of the system are gradually incorporated into the document.
Work Plan/Estimate − Work plans are created to set out the various tasks and activities that need to be completed during a project's development. They also show the expected timeframes and milestones. These are referred to throughout the project and are the most critical document that project managers can use to ensure that their projects are on track.
Traceability Matrix − A table that shows a requirement for a test is a component of a traceability matrix. It can be used to track a requirement's backward and forward movement.
Issue Tracker − An issue tracker is a tool that helps manage and track various issues. It can be used to add or assign problems to people, keep track of the status of the tasks, and create a knowledge base for the resolution of issues.
Change Management Document − Change management documents are used to record all the changes that were made to a system, and they can also be used to link unanticipated events.
Test Document − A test document contains a variety of procedures, including a test case and a test plan. A test case is a step-by-step process that describes how to thoroughly test a particular aspect or feature. On the other hand, a test plan is a representation of what tests should be performed.
Technical Document − A technical document is a collection of information about a product, including its specifications, manufacturing process, quality assurance, and design. It also provides a description of its functions and features.
Functional Document − The functional specifications of a system are designed to describe its inner workings. They do not provide a specification on how the system will function. Instead, they focus on the various agents that will interact with the system.
Why is Documentation of Prime Important in Project Management?
Many inexperienced project managers are not aware of the importance of documentation. It can add anxiety to a project manager as she is usually tasked with delivering projects within constraints. This is why I suggest that you never skip documentation.
One of the most important skills that a project manager should have is good time management. Having the proper documentation is also very important if you want to improve your skills in project management. Having the right documentation will allow you to make informed decisions and manage projects efficiently.
How Does it Help a Project Manager?
Having the proper documentation is very important for project managers as it can help them manage projects successfully. It can also increase their credibility among the professionals who are involved in the project. Having the necessary documents helps prepare you for upcoming situations.
The PMBOK 6th edition provides a comprehensive guide that aims to help project managers keep track of their project's progress. It also encourages them to retain the necessary documentation to improve their knowledge. Before implementing any actions, you can refer to the knowledge management repository and organizational process assets.
If you don’t keep the proper documentation on your projects, it can affect the way others view and use your work. It can also prevent you from contributing to the knowledge base of the organization. Having the right documents can help project managers make sound decisions.
You can also customize the templates of your project documents depending on the context and the scenario. For instance, the documentation can be customized according to the experience of the project manager. Having the right documents can be very important for any project. However, it’s up to you whether you want to customize them.
Good documentation is very important to an alpha project manager. It can help them save time and make better decisions. Having the proper documentation helps them make informed decisions and improve their project's success rate.
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