Writing Requirements Documentation for Multiple Audiences

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and enough explanation of the technological decisions to enable the managers to evaluate and approve the solution and to enable them to discuss the value of the system to senior staff and managers outside the department.

The SMEs have an in-depth knowledge of the subject, but have a limited understanding of the computer technology to be used in the system. Therefore, we must include a description and discussion of the technological information so the SMEs will be able to evaluate and approve the solution proposed and so they will be able to explain to the end users that the system will meet their needs (and ideally be an improvement over their current solution, if one exists). Many times all that is needed is reducing the amount of "techie" jargon that is used and increasing the amount of "plain English."

If the requirements specify that the system should perform keyword searches on the load field, stating that the system will search within the load field for a word or a phrase will make the requirement more easily understood and applied by the SME. The quality auditors have a limited understanding of both the computer technology to be used in the system and of the subject matter. So, sufficient detail of both the computer technology to be used in the system and the subject matter will have to be included for the auditors to evaluate the efficacy of the requirements document.

Because the key to writing good technical documentation is meeting your audience's needs, returning to these questions on each revision of the document ensures that the document continues to remain relevant to the project.

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