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1. Scope.

This section shall be divided into the following paragraphs.

1.1 Identification.

This paragraph shall contain a full identification of the system and the software to which this document applies, including, as applicable, identification number(s), title(s), abbreviation(s), version number(s), and release number(s).

1.2 System overview.

This paragraph shall briefly state the purpose of the system and the software to which this document applies. It shall describe the general nature of the system and software; summarize the history of system development, operation, and maintenance; identify the project sponsor, acquirer, user, developer, and support agencies; identify current and planned operating sites; and list other relevant documents.

1.3 Document overview.

This paragraph shall summarize the purpose and contents of this manual and shall describe any security or privacy considerations associated with its use.

2. Referenced documents.

This section shall list the number, title, revision, and date of all documents referenced in this manual. This section shall also identify the source for all documents not available through normal Government stocking activities.

3. Software summary.

This section shall be divided into the following paragraphs.

3.1 Software application.

This paragraph shall provide a brief description of the intended uses of the software. Capabilities, operating improvements, and benefits expected from its use shall be described.

3.2 Software inventory.

This paragraph shall identify all software files, including databases and data files, that must be installed for the software to operate. The identification shall include security and privacy considerations for each file and identification of the software necessary to continue or resume operation in case of an emergency.

3.3 Software environment.

This paragraph shall identify the hardware, software, manual operations, and other resources needed for a user to install and run the software. Included, as applicable, shall be identification of:

  1. Computer equipment that must be present, including amount of memory needed, amount of auxiliary storage needed, and peripheral equipment such as printers and other input/output devices
  2. Communications equipment that must be present
  3. Other software that must be present, such as operating systems, databases, data files, utilities, and other supporting systems
  4. Forms, procedures, or other manual operations that must be present
  5. Other facilities, equipment, or resources that must be present

3.4 Software organization and overview of operation.

This paragraph shall provide a brief description of the organization and operation of the software from the user's point of view. The description shall include, as applicable:

  1. Logical components of the software, from the user's point of view, and an overview of the purpose/operation of each component
  2. Performance characteristics that can be expected by the user, such as:

    1. Types, volumes, rate of inputs accepted
    2. Types, volume, accuracy, rate of outputs that the software can produce
    3. Typical response time and factors that affect it
    4. Typical processing time and factors that affect it
    5. Limitations, such as number of events that can be tracked
    6. Error rate that can be expected
    7. Reliability that can be expected
  3. Relationship of the functions performed by the software with interfacing systems, organizations, or positions

  4. Supervisory controls that can be implemented (such as passwords) to manage the software

3.5 Contingencies and alternate states and modes of operation.

This paragraph shall explain differences in what the user will be able to do with the software at times of emergency and in various states and modes of operation, if applicable.

3.6 Security and privacy.

This paragraph shall contain an overview of the security and privacy considerations associated with the software. A warning shall be included regarding making unauthorized copies of software or documents, if applicable.

3.7 Assistance and problem reporting.

This paragraph shall identify points of contact and procedures to be followed to obtain assistance and report problems encountered in using the software.

4. Access to the software.

This section shall contain step-by-step procedures oriented to the first time/occasional user. Enough detail shall be presented so that the user can reliably access the software before learning the details of its functional capabilities. Safety precautions, marked by WARNING or CAUTION, shall be included where applicable.

4.1 First-time user of the software.

This paragraph shall be divided into the following subparagraphs.

4.1.1 Equipment familiarization.

This paragraph shall describe the following as appropriate:

  1. Procedures for turning on power and making adjustments
  2. Dimensions and capabilities of the visual display screen
  3. Appearance of the cursor, how to identify an active cursor if more than one cursor can appear, how to position a cursor, and how to use a cursor
  4. Keyboard layout and role of different types of keys and pointing devices
  5. Procedures for turning power off if special sequencing of operations is needed

4.1.2 Access control.

This paragraph shall present an overview of the access and security features of the software that are visible to the user. The following items shall be included, as applicable:

  1. How and from whom to obtain a password
  2. How to add, delete, or change passwords under user control
  3. Security and privacy considerations pertaining to the storage and marking of output reports and other media that the user will generate

4.1.3 Installation and setup.

This paragraph shall describe any procedures that the user must perform to be identified or authorized to access or install software on the equipment, to perform the installation, to configure the software, to delete or overwrite former files or data, and to enter parameters for software operation.

4.2 Initiating a session.

This paragraph shall provide step-by-step procedures for beginning work, including any options available. A checklist for problem determination shall be included in case difficulties are encountered.

4.3 Stopping and suspending work.

This paragraph shall describe how the user can cease or interrupt use of the software and how to determine whether normal termination or cessation has occurred.

5. Processing reference guide.

This section shall provide the user with procedures for using the software. If procedures are complicated or extensive, additional Sections 6, 7, ... may be added in the same paragraph structure as this section and with titles meaningful to the sections selected. The organization of the document will depend on the characteristics of the software being documented. For example, one approach is to base the sections on the organizations in which users work, their assigned positions, their work sites, or the tasks they must perform. For other software, it may be more appropriate to have Section 5 be a guide to menus, Section 6 be a guide to the command language used, and Section 7 be a guide to functions. Detailed procedures are intended to be presented in subparagraphs of paragraph 5.3. Depending on the design of the software, the subparagraphs might be organized on a function by function, menu by menu, transaction-by-transaction, or other basis. Safety precautions, marked by WARNING or CAUTION, shall be included where applicable.

5.1 Capabilities.

This paragraph shall briefly describe the interrelationships of the transactions, menus, functions, or other processes in order to provide an overview of the use of the software.

5.2 Conventions.

This paragraph shall describe any conventions used by the software, such as the use of colors in displays, the use of audible alarms, the use of abbreviated vocabulary, and the use of rules for assigning names or codes.

5.3 Processing procedures.

This paragraph shall explain the organization of subsequent paragraphs, e.g., by function, by menu, by screen. Any necessary order in which procedures must be accomplished shall be described.

5.3.x (Aspect of software use).

The title of this paragraph shall identify the function, menu, transaction, or other process being described. This paragraph shall describe and give options and examples, as applicable, of menus, graphical icons, data entry forms, user inputs, inputs from other software or hardware that may affect the software's interface with the user, outputs, diagnostic or error messages or alarms, and help facilities that can provide on-line descriptive or tutorial information. The format for presenting this information can be adapted to the particular characteristics of the software, but a consistent style of presentation shall be used, i.e., the descriptions of menus shall be consistent, the descriptions of transactions shall be consistent among themselves.

5.4 Related processing.

This paragraph shall identify and describe any related batch, offline, or background processing performed by the software that is not invoked directly by the user and is not described in paragraph 5.3. Any user responsibilities to support this processing shall be specified.

5.5 Data backup.

This paragraph shall describe procedures for creating and retaining backup data that can be used to replace primary copies of data in event of errors, defects, malfunctions, or accidents.

5.6 Recovery from errors, malfunctions, and emergencies.

This paragraph shall present detailed procedures for restart or recovery from errors or malfunctions occurring during processing and for ensuring continuity of operations in the event of emergencies.

5.7 Messages.

This paragraph shall list, or refer to an appendix that lists, all error messages, diagnostic messages, and information messages that can occur while accomplishing any of the user's functions. The meaning of each message and the action that should be taken after each such message shall be identified and described.

5.8 Quick-reference guide.

If appropriate to the software, this paragraph shall provide or reference a quick-reference card or page for using the software. This quick-reference guide shall summarize, as applicable, frequently-used function keys, control sequences, formats, commands, or other aspects of software use.

6. Notes.

This section shall contain any general information that aids in understanding this document (e.g., background information, glossary, rationale). This section shall include an alphabetical listing of all acronyms, abbreviations, and their meanings as used in this document and a list of terms and definitions needed to understand this document. If section 5 has been expanded into section(s) 6, . . ., this section shall be numbered as the next section following section n.

A. Appendixes.

Appendixes may be used to provide information published separately for convenience in document maintenance (e.g., charts, classified data). As applicable, each appendix shall be referenced in the main body of the document where the data would normally have been provided. Appendixes may be bound as separate documents for ease in handling. Appendixes shall be lettered alphabetically (A, B, etc.).

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