software life cycle

Subject: software life cycle
From: Ardene Whittlesey <twriter40 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2001 09:59:43 -0800 (PST)

Hi all,

I'm a new subscriber to techwr-l and have some
questions about the software development life cycle.
I've done mostly hardware documentation, but am
looking to expand my skill set.

I've already had one contract where I was initially
brought in to write training doc, and then was asked
to do process documentation as well as work on
functional and technical specifications during/after
development. Needless to say, I moved on to find
something a bit more manageable.

But I'm curious - what's the difference between
functional and technical specs? I assume functional
describes what a piece of software will do and
technical describes how it's done. If that's correct,
does the functional spec come before coding and the
technical spec after? The functional spec come from
the users (and management) and the tech spec from

Also, are use cases the same as test cases?

And do most companies really follow a formal life
cycle process? My experience in hardware is that a
customer wants something, sales & marketing promises
it to them, and engineering has to come up with
something - fast! And the writer is at the end of the
loop, trying to document as it goes out the door.

Any web sites where I can educate myself on this
process would be apprciated.


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