An SDLC standards rewrite

The client’s standards for software-development documentation were badly out of date. They needed a new framework to ensure vendor compliance with SDLC best practices.


Technical writer/business analyst


To develop new standards and templates for SDLC documentatation.


SDLC; template development; stakeholder management.


My partner (a senior BA) and I initially saw this as simple technical-writing project. I would develop some modern, generic templates for common documents and add documentation, and we would push for a quick sign-off from a small group of engaged stakeholders.

When our streamlined process met an early stakeholder roundtable, it lost. The requirements were more complicated and variegated than we’d expected, and there were important disagreements within the stakeholder group.

So, we launched a different kind of process, in some ways a 180 turn from what we had planned. We expanded the interview phase, customized templates to the requirements of specific work units, and set up a comprehensive stakeholder sign-off process to ensure buy-in from all sides. This stretched out the project timeline and modestly increased the budget, but the final deliverables met the client's real needs.