Software development is typically a team endeavor. Developers may work on separate projects but many times their work intersects with modules others are building. Even individuals creating their own applications must refer back to prior work to track source-code changes and limit vulnerabilities. Creating proper documentation for teamwork and legacy code should be a top priority for all developers.
The consequences of missing or inadequate documentation impede application updates and new feature additions, or worse, affect end users by delivering buggy products or missed delivery deadlines.
Phase Change President Steve Brothers was recently interviewed for an article published by SD Times titled, "Solving the issues with current documentation practices," about how software development and maintenance documentation remains an issue. In the interview, Brothers said many times documentation is not a priority because of time constraints – developers feel they are paid and assessed on the code they create, not on documenting the process. And when they do provide comments, once again, project constraints can lead to inaccurate information. This failure to transfer knowledge leads to "slower and sloppier development."
Brothers also talked about coming AI tools that will automatically capture the knowledge developers put into the code, thus creating its own documentation, which never leaves the organization, even when the developers depart. Phase Change's AI tool, COBOL Colleague, will also help automate the process of searching for relevant code and data, which minimizes the need for extensive documentation.
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Todd Erickson is a Technology Writer with Phase Change. You can reach him at email@example.com.