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On-the-fly documentation for software development meetings

Sylwia Kopczyńska and Michał Maćkowiak (2008)

Master Thesis, Poznan University of Technology.

The war between agility and discipline creates the software engineering history. Software documentation
is one of the controversial aspects. From the one point of view software documentation
is considered as expensive, time-inefficient, boring and useless, from the other it is regarded as
software and development processes quality assurance. Numerous real-life examples show that
software documentation is significant for every software development project.

Attempting to find a compromise the thesis proposes and evaluates the concept of persisting
software manufacturing processes within on-the-fly documentation. On-the-fly documentation is
intended by the thesis’ authors to be human-friendly, ubiquitous and time-efficient documentation
which captures collaborative work in a form of team meetings. It offers effective retrieval of the
information about the project it describes. On-the-fly documentation pursues its aims making use
of multimedia technologies.

The thesis presents the authors’ early experience with multimedia solutions and the empirical
evaluation of several market-available systems. The results revealed high acceptance level of
multimedia technologies and indicated their feasibility for on-the-fly documentation. Moreover,
non-functional requirements management domain has been identified as of high importance for
software projects and of high potential for on-the-fly documentation. The thesis proposes an nonfunctional
requirements elicitation approach which ordinates from: a well known team meeting
method, the standard ISO/IEC 9126 and the brainstorming technique. The approach may be easily
combined with on-the-fly documentation concept, which is suggested by the authors. They also
present the technical aspects of the documentation and describe the system they implemented. The
system was used within a case study which was to check the acceptance level of on-the-fly documentation
concept. The empirical evaluation which studied non-functional requirements elicitation
meetings conducted at Poznan University of Technology was also to reveal technical capabilities
of the solution. The experiment showed a few weaknesses of the system but still the participants
expressed positive opinions about on-the-fly documentation concept and elicitation non-functional
requirements according to the proposed approach. Overall, the on-the-fly documentation concept
appears to have promising perspectives in software development projects domain. It may become
a compromise while balancing between discipline and agile approaches. The authors reckon that
the concept of on-the-fly documentation may be adapted to other software development activities,
but further research and experiments are required to obtain a feedback. However, before on-the-fly
documentation will be applied to industrial or government projects, the authors suggest to explore
some recognized ideas and improve a few issues.

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