Application Documentation provides you, the MIS professional, with job freedom. If you write an

Application Documentation provides you, the MIS professional, with job freedom. If you write an application and let others use it they will have problems with it. If you don’t document it they will come to you whenever they have a problem – forever. You will be trapped by your own programming prowess.

There are three types of Application Documentation:


System Administrator


Each type of documentation has different requirements and a different audience. User documentation is for the non-technical user who wants to use the applicaton to get their job done. System Administrator documentation is for the person in charge of the company’s servers who need to install new versions of the software, back up and restore databases, and manage user access. System documentation is for the programmers who will have to maintain the software code after you get promoted, with the lottery, or get a better job.

About ISO 9000 Standards – ISO 9001 Implementation Documentation Standard for Software Video:


1. What is the most important type of documentation? Why?

2. Describe what good User documentation would look like.

3. What should be included in good System documentation?

Expert Answer

  1. Documentation acts as a communication medium between the application developer and the organization members using the MIS application. It can shorten the system’s downtime, while helping in avoiding repetitive research and questions, makes interaction with the customer company more productive, help in identifying the missing information, and procedural gaps and inefficiencies in the application. Also, it allows the developer to move on to the other projects. Although all three types of application documentation are equally important, system documentation is the most important type as it allows the system to function independently, without the need for the application programmer, or administrator to maintain it in the long run.
  2. A good User documentation should include detailed manuals and web support for the procedures required for the non-technical user to efficiently use the system for their jobs. It should include the policies and help files for the user to understand what steps should be taken in what situations, and how basic problems can be tacked without the help of the system administrator. Beyond that, the document should be written in a very easy to understand non-technical language to help the user to easily grasp it. Use of screenshot images of the application to help the user understand better should be included in the manual. A proper glossary within the document can further help the user to easily find what he/she is looking for.
  3. Good system documentation should include:
  • The system details, like the Serial number and registration key, Application storage location, Configuration files, Installed version and installation date, Purpose, developer’s web site and contact details, Application installation path, etc.
  • Project plan highlighting what the application is intended to accomplish, possible performance bottlenecks and the plans to correct any issues noted, etc.
  • System documents like the hardware specifications, library versions, build environment, partition table, listing of IP interfaces, and the domain names that the system serves
  • Server logs including the Hardware platforms, IP addresses, DNS names, Dates of last update and patch installations, Operating systems, Running services, Open ports, etc.
  • System flowcharts & Data flow diagram
  • Logical and physical network diagram,
  • Network administration information including the contact information, Vendor sheets (hardware and software), License information for software, Maintenance contracts, etc.
  • Software backup and restore process
  • Printing infrastructure, and
  • Feature and Equipment Requests
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