The software project overview is a vital piece of SaaS documentation. It outlines the purpose, scope, and goals of the project, while also acting as a centralized resource for essential administrative and technical details. To help you save time and money, as well as avoid headaches during your SaaS or other software development project, this blog post will cover:
- The benefits of the software project overview
- What should be included, illustrated with a software project overview example
- Helpful tips
- How you can get a comprehensive software project overview template for your SaaS documentation efforts.
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Benefits of a Software Project Overview
- Enhances Team Collaboration: Ensures all teams and stakeholders have a clear understanding of the project’s scope and objectives.
- Streamlines Onboarding: New team members can self-orient, significantly reducing the time it takes to become productive.
- Centralizes Information: Keeps all essential project details in one place, invaluable for long-term projects or those with breaks in activity.
- Cost-Effective: The time spent creating and maintaining a project overview is minimal compared to the benefits it provides.
Elements of a Software Project Overview
Let’s dive into what your software project overview should encapsulate, supported by a software project example for clarity.
1. Project Description
Describe what the project is about, the problems it solves, who it serves, and its functionality. Clearly outline the goals for users and owners, and explain how the project will meet these goals and generate revenue. Make sure to take your time on this section, as it will help to align all team members and stakeholders on the project vision and reduce the likelihood of scope creep.
Here is how this section is written up in our software project overview example, from our work with True Blue Analytics:
True Blue Analytics Data Exchange
Grassroot fundraising has grown significantly in recent years and people are more willing to engage and contribute to solving issues around the world. Even so, it can be difficult for campaigners or organizations to get in touch with their potential donors. Cold outreach to private individuals in order to gain their support is a very time consuming process. Identifying those people who are more likely to donate to the member or cause in the center of the campaign is even more critical. The True Blue Analytics data exchange system facilitates this process by connecting interested parties with the people who are most likely to support them and their causes.
- Facilitate campaigns’ access to relevant, high quality, and non-duplicative donor information
For Owner / Admin:
- Streamlining and automating the process of connecting campaigns with potential donors
How does the system make money or accomplish its goal?
The True Blue Analytics data exchange is a web platform that allows campaigns to query the data on relevant criteria, upload hashed contact information that they already possess to avoid purchasing duplicate records, and purchase records prioritized by donor activity level and contact channel for immediate download.
The system also allows the administrative team to build upon and keep the dataset up to date, view all transactions, and update the legal agreements required for the purchase process.
2. System Users
Identify each user type, who they are, and what they can and cannot do within the system. This is especially helpful for the designers and developers who must understand the permissions management involved. For instance, in a typical B2B SaaS system, you may have at minimum administrators, super administrators, team leaders (i.e., the people who sign up for the SaaS system on behalf of their company), and team members who are invited by the team leader to use the company account on the SaaS system. In our software project overview example, the user types are rather simple:
|TITLE||DESCRIPTION||WHAT CAN THEY DO OR NOT DO|
|Standard User||A person interested in purchasing political donor contact data||Query the dataset, upload hashed records already in their possession for duplicate detection, purchase records|
|Admin||One or more trusted True Blue Analytics team members||Update the dataset, view transaction logs, update legal documents (e.g., terms of purchase), user management, create other admins|
|Super Admin||A manager of admins||Create other super admins, delete and edit admin users|
3. Project Team
Provide the name, role, and contact information for all project contributors. Clarifying responsibilities is crucial, particularly when coordinating with external teams or clients with in-house development staff.
4. Client Information
Include the client’s company name, website, physical and billing address, in addition to name, role, and contact information for each stakeholder. Also, note who the lead decision-maker is and how decision-making powers are distributed among the stakeholders.
By listing all signed contracts with their dates, descriptions, and access links, you ensure vital legal documents are easily accessible, aligning everyone on project terms.
|7/16/21||System build||Initial Build Contract|
|6/28/23||Design changes and additional search parameters||Revision Contract|
6. Billing Milestones
If the project billing is based on milestones, list each milestone here. This can help the project manager to sequence the work and recognize when a milestone has been completed so that they can ensure the client is billed in a timely manner. Here is this section from our software project overview example:
- Project Start
- Onboarding, Authentication, User Profile, and Admin Panel Complete
- Project Completion
7. System Information
Provide links to all relevant environments and code repositories, list necessary third-party integrations, and specify the icon pack and usage rights to facilitate design consistency.
|Staging Server||Login page|
|Live/Production Server||Login page|
|Code Repo(s)||Frontend code repo
Backend code repo
|Other System(s)||Mandrill App – transactional email system
Stripe – payment processor
|Icon Pack||seekicon, free|
8. Wireframes and Designs
Organize all design documents with dates, descriptions, and links to offer a clear version history and track the project’s visual evolution. Typically, this section will have initial wireframes, one or more revised set of wireframes after collaboration with the client, initial designs, one or more revised set of designs based on client feedback, and then additional designs for new features and design changes.
WIREFRAMES AND DESIGNS:
|6/20/23||Improved purchasing process||Approved Design Revisions|
9. Information Architecture
List and link to all versions of the information architecture, providing context for each iteration’s changes and decisions.
|7/16/21||Initial Build IA||Initial Build|
|6/28/23||Design changes and add new search parameters||Revision 1 SOW|
Tips for Maximizing Your Software Project Overview’s Benefits
- Create the software project overview as early as possible in the project lifecycle, and ensure that the project manager reviews and updates it periodically.
- Make the software project overview accessible to all team members and stakeholders and ask for their feedback to improve its accuracy.
- At the same time, make sure that sensitive information such as contracts, billing information, and system access details are secured and shared responsibly. Links to these items should route to access-controlled systems that ensure only the appropriate individuals are granted access.
- Integrate the software project overview with your project management platform. For example, we keep our software project overviews in Confluence so that we can embed the project roadmap and open issues list from Jira.
Project Overview SaaS Documentation Template
A well-crafted software project overview is a cornerstone of SaaS documentation best practices. Creating and maintaining a comprehensive software project overview is essential for aligning team members and stakeholders, ensuring everyone is on the same page about the objectives and basics of the project.
If you have any questions about SaaS documentation or would like help documenting your software project, we’re here for you! Contact us today.