Documentation

Define the purpose

Is this product for your customers to use? Are you tracking data to meet compliance rules for a government agency? What do you need to get out of the system years from now?

If you are working in a team, write down the purpose and agree to it no matter how simple it is.

Consider the following two versions of a purpose statement.

The system will track warehouse inventory, so that we know how much of each item we have on hand and how much is on order. We need to allow customers to check inventory from our web site.

Or:

The system will manage warehouse inventory so that we will have enough of each item on hand to make deliveries.

The second project is potentially more extensive than the first. It suggests that the system might order from suppliers automatically, and it might predict demand. That is a lot more than simply tracking inventory. The second purpose statement should be expanded to name the various roles that the planned system will play.

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