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Understanding Working Software over Comprehensive Documentation in Agile


While working in an agile environment having agile values like Working Software over Comprehensive Documentation, the majority of the teams tend to work on different software models instead of writing documentation for months that are most likely to be outdated at the time of development. To explain this in simpler words, let us first understand the traditional approach to software development. According to the traditional approach, the team gathers all the customer requirements at the beginning of the project and also plans all the other phases of the development without having the customer’s involvement. According to this method, the team has to spend months writing down all the requirements, analysis, design, and test case documents. Though it may sound useful at that time, but all the information available in these documents will eventually go outdated by the time you are done with the requirements. Therefore, all the hard work done goes to vain.

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Though the documents get outdated, yet it does not mean you shouldn’t write documents as stopping this procedure would stop the team’s progress towards development. But at the same time, it wastes a lot of time and effort on the team as well. For example, most of the time, the team has to write a design document that takes a lot of time but is not needed during the development phase. Now because of this traditional approach, the team spent a lot of time documenting such stuff that is not going to be used and this causes delays in the actual development timeline. Not just that it also results in increasing the budget cost.

Why it is important to focus on Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation:

The agile manifesto suggests that all the teams working in an agile environment must focus on working software over comprehensive documentation instead of spending a lot of time and effort on writing the comprehensive documents. Agile considers this working software as one of the best agile values as it saves a lot of time.

What are Agile Values?

The following are the different agile values that are to be kept in mind while working in an agile environment:

  • Individuals and interactions are made over processes and tools.
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation.
  • All customer collaboration is done over contract negotiation.
  • A proper plan is to be followed while responding to any type of change.


While following the agile manifesto, the most effective and feasible way to write a document is by creating an architectural document and then focusing on the test cases. Later, this architectural document helps all the team members to understand how the system has developed. Similarly, the automated test cases improve the software quality and result in fewer flaws in the system. Therefore, the overall effort, time, and cost is reduced to a great extent with Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation.

What documents are required for Working Software Systems?

The following are the details of the documents required for software systems:

Application test cases:

Different types of test cases always turn out to be helpful for the development team. As it helps to develop a solution by writing the test case which is called test-driven development. There are many types of test cases that the team can document easily.

Unit tests:

It is used to validate the behavior of different components that are within the system.

Integration tests:

The purpose of these tests is to check each component of a system and then make sure whether they are working properly as a group or not.

Functional tests:

These types of tests validate how all the different components in a system are going to interact with one another.

Automation tests:

This testing is used to compare and check all the expected outcomes of the system on the system behavior change.

Product technical specification:

By documenting all the technical specifications of the system, it gets really easy for the team to understand the system architecture. With that, it also enables the new team member to all further functionalities to the system in the future.

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By reading the above article, you can easily understand how working software over comprehensive documentation is better than documentation in an agile environment and to what extent it can save a team’s effort, time, and the organization’s cost as well.