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|IEEE software life cycle|
A software design description (a.k.a. software design document or SDD), also Software Design Specification is a written description of a software product, that a software designer writes in order to give a software development team overall guidance to the architecture of the software project. An SDD usually accompanies an architecture diagram with pointers to detailed feature specifications of smaller pieces of the design. Practically, the description is required to coordinate a large team under a single vision, needs to be a stable reference, and outline all parts of the software and how they will work.
The SDD usually contains the following information:
These design mediums enable the designer to represent procedural detail, that facilitates translation to code. This blueprint for implementation forms the basis for all subsequent software engineering work.
IEEE 1016-2009, titled IEEE Standard for Information Technology—Systems Design—Software Design Descriptions, is an IEEE standard that specifies "the required information content and organization" for an SDD. IEEE 1016 does not specify the medium of an SDD; it is "applicable to automated databases and design description languages but can be used for paper documents and other means of descriptions."
The 2009 edition was a major revision to IEEE 1016-1998, elevating it from recommended practice to full standard. This revision was modeled after IEEE Std 1471-2000, Recommended Practice for Architectural Description of Software-intensive Systems, extending the concepts of view, viewpoint, stakeholder, and concern from architecture description to support documentation of high-level and detailed design and construction of software. [IEEE 1016, Introduction]
Following the IEEE 1016 conceptual model, an SDD is organized into one or more design views. Each design view follows the conventions of its design viewpoint. IEEE 1016 defines the following design viewpoints for use:
In addition, users of the standard are not limited to these viewpoints but may define their own.