Best practices for backing up the documentation of an IT project

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There are good practices and best practices for backing up the documentation of an IT project; just as in everything else.

In the first two posts of this series about IT project documentation, we dealt with the “what” or what to document and the “how” or if you prefer the format you should use.

In this post, we will not discuss the “why” but the “where” to save the documentation.

If you think this post is the poor little brother of the two previous ones, think again. Too often, the IT Project documentation is not consulted because it is not easily or readily accessible and, for the same reasons, the documentation is often out of date.

To determine the right place to save your IT Project documentation, there are 3 factors to consider:

  • What documentation must be made available?
  • Who are the users or readers?
  • What is the frequency of consultation (reading and updating)?

When it comes to backing up your IT Project Documentation; not all tools are created equal

 

Consider the documents mentioned in the previous posts:

  • Organizational Design and Delivery Standards: For years, we’ve saved these documents, usually in Word format, in our corporate library that was SharePoint-based. Through the last optimization of our methods and processes, we’ve decided to bring this documentation closer to our developers and we’ve transferred it to Visual Studio Team Services, in a “Documentation” project, to make it easier to access.
  • As for meeting reports, we also save them in Visual Studio Team Services, but this time in the project itself. This way, they are available to the development team and to the client who also has access to the tool.
  • Business and functional requirements that are in Word format for clients to easily edit are also saved in the project created in Visual Studio Team Services.
  • Obviously one of the features of VSTS is to allow managers to plan. The Planning is done in the tool itself.
  • Of course, all documentation generated by the developers themselves, including the notes in the code, the technical documentation, the design files, everything is saved in the tool. For the technical documentation, a wiki page is also used to edit it.
  • Finally, to facilitate access to the documentation, including that which is frequently consulted, we have created for each development project a project wiki that allows us to filter the documentation to expose and make it easily available. It contains:
    • a summary of internal meetings
    • a page containing links to Word files of external meetings
    • a table of “To-Do”

Conclusion

Not so long ago at Analystik, we could find IT Project documentation on our file server, our corporate library, SharePoint and TFS (now VSTS).

In order to better support our IT Project documentation, we have centralized it in the same platform by distinguishing what is specific to the project and what is addressed to the organization. In this way, all stakeholders, both internal and external, have easy access to it and the format used is generally best suited for each type of user.

 

Happy development project,

 

Denis Paul & Michel

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