Using a DD-Checklist for software projects

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The term due diligence means (see wikipedias definition of it) means that you have exercised the appropriate level of care and caution before a job task is undertaken. It often referred to the process of researching a company prior to purchasing it. Since there are legal implications, it is useful to come up with a checklist of items that should be in place. This will help you to ensure that you haven’t missed any important steps or quality checks. The process of a commercial or operational due diligence usually takes at least 8 weeks of time and can be very much longer depending on the complexity or the size of the companies involved.

Software and due diligence

In the field of software design and electronics, a due diligence involves a thorough assessment of a client’s existing platform or software code. It means asking the right questions of a client and obtaining the necessary information in order to proceed with a project or acquisition. Most corporations develop a due diligence checklist or a simple template that can be used and adapted for a given situation. With regards to software projects there are different questions to be asked compared to corporation acquisitions.

The due diligence checklist itself

The process checklist is designed in order to ensure that you are left with a very good idea of the strength of the software or project prior to taking it on. There are several issues that can be included into a checklist. These will typically begin with basic information about the corporation and then become more specific around the detailed issues at hand. Many of the considerations will fall under the basic category of literally common sense.

Crucial points include processes, the people (e.g. developers) involved, testing, documentation and of course hosting and finally details of how the software is released . Red flag issued items may include considerations such as the absence of a readable documentation or potential incompatibilities with an integrated development system.

With regards to software projects you may also take some time to evaluate the software development process itself and the underlying quality mechanisms. Depending of the maturity of the software it might be also a good idea to check the approach the developer team takes to achieve new releases through milestones. Today many teams use scrum as an agile approach to software development whereas older software might still be implemented with the older waterfall approach.


How a Document Management Systems can help you

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What is now subsumed under the broader umbrella of a content management system? A document management system entails the collection, storage, curation and version control of documents stored, recorded and tracked. It simply puts into technical terms a paper workflow that has been around for years. In essence, a document management system (short: dms) outlines the need for organizations to be able to control and manage shared documents internally. There are a couple of ways and processes to do so, using software and techniques that are best practices and the body of this forms this system. In a broader way you can see different software approaches as offline dms (where documents are stored inside the customer premises) or modern online document management systems where the files are stored using centralized cloud resources.

Inside your personal DMS

Once a document is created and stored inside a dms, it should be able to be archived and accessed and modified by anyone within a given group and the proper permissions. These modifications should also be stored so that they are later able to be accessed and “audited”. Changes tracked should be displayed in a visual way so that auditing between versions can happen with ease. And, furthermore, the multiple iterations of a document undergoing changes should act like a “backup” that can be restored in the current at any time, upon the user’s determination.


Using a document management system should be easy

Online Document Management vs offline-DMS

This auditing trail helps to keep a document current and effective but also, essentially, allows a large number of individuals to be coordinated when working simultaneously upon a project. So, besides simply archiving several versions and leaving a “trail”, this also means incorporating such functions as locked editing for when a document is being handled or edited by one user and is thus locked to other users until the changes have been made and saved and the user has exited. Annotations and stamps should exist in order for several users to communicate over the audited changes within the document, remark and mark up for future use as well as version control that demarcates exactly how and where a document differs from its previous incarnation.

Instead of storing critical documents like contracts, proposals, agreements and technical papers on individual USBs, network drives or a local hard drive, a robust document (or content) management system stores the document within software that accounts for all these changes and functions and makes available the document to several users at once. It’s a time-tested way to coordinate content creation and production efforts efficiently.

Today, it’s important to employ a system that is extensible and has features built in that would allow for the coordination of documents and users with each other through the use of wikis and calendars as well as third party APIs that can integrate with existing software (such as CRM or ERP). Running a tight ship successfully is what a well-designed dms can handle.

You’ll find more examples of software vendors for document management in this extensive list.