DDLC (Document Development Life Cycle)

Introduction: DDLC can be defined as the structured framework of a series of steps that leads to the development of technical or user documentation.

DDLC, more or less, runs parallel to the SDLC in order to document its each and every step since the software documentation may serve as a quick reference in the time of need. DDLC creates a steady and efficient plan to capture the course of action that takes place during the SDLC.

It offers noteworthy remote assistance to users, developers and the business partners by immensely helps them in analyzing the software and its utility as well as applicability in their line of work.

Mapping_DDLC_with_SDLC_at_Ascezen1Image : www.ascezen.com

The main steps of a full-fledged DDLC are:

  1. Project/Product Requirement Analysis
  • Understanding the eventual application or product.
  • Comprehend the related subject matter or domain.
  • Grasping the client’s documentation specifications.
  • Browsing the client’s writing style guide and legacy documentation.
  • Offering evangelism/content consulting.
  • Recommend documentation tools and deliverables to be used.
  • Create effort estimate.
  • Suggest team composition and size.
  1. Audience Analysis
  • Demarcation of users into novice, occasional, transfer, expert and rote user groups.
  • Product analysis from user point of view.
  • Understanding the common interest, demographics, environment and technical awareness of the target user group.
  • Customise the document according to the requirements and preferences of the user.
  • Identify user expectations from the product.
  1. Document Design
  • Template and Stylesheet Design.
  • Estimate and Timeframe.
  • Points of Contact and SME (Subject Matter Expert) identification.
  • Technical, peer and editorial reviewer identification.
  • Documentation plan creation.
  • Formulate content strategy for single-sourcing or multiple user-role documentation.
  • Finalize a project schedule for the documentation.
  • TOC (Table of contents) drafting.
  1. Content Development
  • Content Drafting.
  • Graphics/icon selection and insertion.
  • Caption Assignment.
  • Content Formatting.
  • Appendices/Reference compilation.
  • Glossary composition.
  • Indexing.
  • Output Generation.
  1. Usability Testing
  • Organise a suitable test group.
  • Pick a suitable testing method for the product in question.
  • The standard usability testing methods are hallway testing, remote usability testing, expert review, automated expert review and A/B testing.
  • Introduce the users to the new software product.
  • Address their doubts and questions.
  • Observe their response.
  • Note down their feedback and update the product accordingly.
  • Keep in mind all these observations while framing the user documentation for better applicability.
  1. Review
  • Language Review.
  • Technical/SME Review.
  • Content Finalization.
  • Client POC’s (Person of Contact) Review.
  1. Packaging/Document Release
  • Document integration with the product/application.
  • Forward the documentation for publishing and distribution.
  1. Maintenance
  • Constant deliverables maintenance.
  • Content reuse analysis.
  • Redundant data elimination.
  • Template revision.
  • New product feature inclusion.
Phases of DDLC
Phases of DDLC

Image : http://thetechnicalwritingconcepts.blogspot.in

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