If you are a software developer, you probably dislike the process of documenting design requirements. You would much rather dive straight into the code and get the job done. However, approaching software development this way often leads to disastrous results.
It is important that the entire team is on board with what needs to be built and how. Being in congruence with design requirements is also crucial while working with a client. It ensures that both parties agree on the deliverables so that there’s no confusion at the time of the handover.
Therefore, even though it can feel like a chore sometimes, documenting design requirements and creating software design documents is a must for every software developer.
Before we introduce you to our awesome software design documentation template, let’s take a quick look at what exactly is a software design document and what are the things one needs to include in these documents.
What is a Software Design Document?
A software design document (also known as a software design specification or technical specification documents) is a written report of a software product describing its overall architecture.
Such documents are usually written by software designers or project managers and are given to the software development team to give them an overview of what needs to be built and how.
A Software design document helps to ensure the design specs of the software are understood and it’s clear to all. It specifies what is possible with the product and how it can be accomplished.
Read more: What is a Software Requirements Document
Why are Software Design Documents Important?
Software design documents are an important way of looping everyone into the process who is involved in the product. It is for everyone to understand what is possible, what is not possible and the system that will be designed.
Design documents are created to coordinate efforts of a large team, give them a stable reference point, and describe all parts of the software and how they will operate.
It assures that the product is built meeting the needs and is on par with what was agreed upon prior to the inception of the product/software.
Software design documents not only help others understand your system and provides documentation for future projects, but it also forces you to think through the entire system architecture.
This ensures you go through every possible roadblock or challenge you might face, thereby exposing all gaps in your thinking.
Now that you know the importance of creating a software design document, let’s us explore what one needs to include in a software design document in order to make it competent.
What You Should Include in Your Software Design Document?
A typical software requirements document should involve the following details:
Title: Add the title of the Software Design Document
Introduction: Provide an overview of the entire document
System Overview: Provide a general description and functionality of the software system.
Design Considerations: Describe the issues that need to be addressed before creating a design solution
- Assumptions and Dependencies: Describe any assumptions that may be wrong or any dependencies on other things.
- General Constraints: Describe any constraints that could have an impact on the design of the software.
- Goals and Guidelines: Describe any goals and guidelines for the design of the software.
- Development Methods: Describe the software design method that will be used.
Architectural Strategies: Describe the strategies that will be used that will affect the system.
System Architecture: This section should provide a high-level overview of how the functionality and responsibilities of the system were partitioned and then assigned to subsystems or components.
Policies and Tactics: Describe any design policies and/or tactics that do not have sweeping architectural implications (meaning they would not significantly affect the overall organization of the system and its high-level structures).
Detailed System Design: Most components described in the System Architecture section will require a more detailed discussion. Other lower-level components and subcomponents may need to be described as well.
Glossary: An ordered list of defined terms and concepts used throughout the document.
Now that you know the importance and elements of a software design document, it’s time to put that information to test by using a documentation tool like Bit.
Read more: The Best Online Software Documentation Tools
Key Benefits of Creating Your Software Design Document on Bit.ai
For creating software design documents, you need a proficient tool that can help you create, share, and collaborate with stakeholders and get work done efficiently. This is where Bit comes in!
Bit.ai is a new-age software documentation and knowledge management tool that helps teams to collaborate, share, track, and manage all company knowledge in one place. Bit documents, unlike your standard Word Docs, are interactive. This means developers can easily add code blocks to a document with a single click!
Whether your team is creating software design documentation, technical specs sheet, training manuals, best practices, client support material, etc, they can easily add code blocks and embed snippets of GitHub Gists and Pastebin code directly into a Bit document. It’s a smart way to add context to the code snippets you are sharing.
Collaborate with other developers and clients
Multiple people can simultaneously collaborate on a Bit smart document in real-time. It’s a great way for software developers to handle different aspects of the software together under a single roof.
Bit’s sleek, minimal and distraction-free editor makes a great tool for documentation. You can bring all the important stakeholders on a common document and make sure everyone knows what is agreed upon.
Distraction-free and quick documentation
The best part is Bit’s support for Markdown which allows developers to quickly create and format text without any distractions.
Once you are done creating your documents, you can easily export them as PDFs, Word files, Markdown and much more. Markdown is supported by GitHub and other software development tools, making it easy to share the work you do inside of Bit with other platforms.
Keep software documents safe and secure
Bit allows users to manage permissions and information access that suits your organizational needs. It supports features like document tracking, password protection, file access restrictions, etc. that help keep your important company information safe.
This means that all your software documents are safe and secure and are only accessible to those who have been given access to it.
Work with your favorite apps!
We recommend that developers use video recording tools like CloudApp and Loom to bring their video screen sharing tutorials directly into their software design documents.
It’s a smart way to share screens and provide direction to your team, future employees and clients you’re working with. Bit works with these two applications along with 100+ other integrations to make sure your technical documentation brings in various types of digital content.
Recommended power links and files you can add to your software design documents are:
- Any weblink
- PDFs, PowerPoint in Google Drive/OneDrive
- Google Sheets, OneDrive Excel, Airtable
- YouTube, Vimeo
- Social Media posts
- Draw.io & Lucidcharts
- InVision, Framer, Figma
Bit provides a common workplace for software developers to collaborate, document, share their knowledge, brainstorm ideas, store digital assets, and innovate together. The best part is that this knowledge is safely secured in your workspaces and can be shared (or kept private) with anyone in your organization or the public!
Here are some of the main benefits of using Bit:
- Collaborate in real-time
- Interlink your software design document and other documents.
- Create fully responsive documents.
- Create software design documents that are only visible to yourself or your colleagues.
- Track engagement on shared software design documents with customers, partners, etc.
- Embed your software design documents onto any website.
To make the process of creating your software design document easier, we have created a ready-made software design document template for you! Check it out below:
How to use Software Design Documentation Template with Bit
The process of creating a software design document on Bit is insanely easy! Just follow these four simple steps to create a software design document quickly:
Step 1: Create a Bit Account
Go the home page of Bit.ai and click on Get Started for Free or Sign Up to get started. Enter your email address to sign up. Once in, you can create your personal profile.
Step 2: Create a Workspace
Workspaces are where the work gets done. Click on the ‘Create Workspace’ button on the right. A popup will show up prompting you to add a name for your new workspace. You can create a workspace around a team, department, large project, client, partner, etc.
Inside each workspace, you can create an unlimited amount of Bit documents and access your content library (storage area for all of your digital assets – web links, files, cloud files, rich embeds, etc.).
Step 3: Add Team Members
Bit allows your team members to collaborate in real-time and get work done. Collaboration starts at the workspace level.
You create private workspaces by default. However, you can invite others to join you inside of a workspace and collaborate together with the knowledge, projects, documents and content inside of the workspace.
Step 4: Create Your Desired Document
Once you are in the workspace, click on the ‘Create New’ button. Select ‘From Template’ in the dropdown.
A pop up will display allowing you to select a template from the gallery. In the search box on the top left corner, you can search for “software design template”. Once your desired template pops up, click on it and click on the “Use Template” button on the bottom right corner.
That’s it! Your software design document is ready for use!
Over to you
Creating software design documents can be a long and tedious job but it doesn’t have to be. When you have a fast and robust documentation tool like Bit, you can create awesome software documents in a jiffy and make sure that everyone is on board with everything that is being documented.
No more confusion and chaos of back and forth emails! With Bit, you can easily create, store, share, and track all your documentation in one location.
By providing a centralized location to all project stakeholders, Bit does an amazing job of bringing your team together and minimizing chances of confusion and misinterpretations.
If you have any questions about the software design template above or want to learn how Bit can help your business succeed, tweet us @bit_docs right away!