Software documentation is an integral part of any software development and maintenance process. However, software professionals and practitioners are often concerned about the lack of benefit and quality of documentation in practice.
Unfortunately, they express the current perception of documentation as poor, outdated, incomplete and sometimes unhelpful. To address this concern, we need to be able to assess the perceived and potential software documentation quality and usage and the main factors influencing them in practice.
Our research focuses on documentation quality and usage (benefit) during software development and maintenance activities. In particular, this research provides a hybrid and practical methodology to evaluate documentation quality and usage from different perspectives and identifies the underlying impacting factors and drivers towards documentation process improvement. We propose a methodology including both quantitative and qualitative evaluations to assess software documentation quality and usage (benefit). The output of this methodology is a set of documentation benefit and quality drivers and factors that help improve the software documentation process.
Our work helps explore which attributes of documentation make it more effective for the software professionals and outlines how this information can be monitored and parameterized to increase documentation efficiency.
To evaluate the feasibility of the proposed methodology, the results of an industrial case study are also presented.