Design documents in the real world?
My professor keeps putting major emphasis on design documents, and I'm just wondering how practical they are in the industry. How do they compare to interaction diagrams, flow charts, etc?
What experience do you all have in your everyday work/programming?
Documentation and process
A year ago I wrote up some of my observations on the software process and documentation. I posted it to my livejournal, so I won't retype it in here.
I've worked at places where the design documents were useless, and others where they were essential. I've also worked on projects where there were no design documents, unless you include "README.1ST" and "TODO.TXT" files. I believe in design documents, but I don't believe in them describing everything and taking away the creativity of the programmer. jwenting and I agree on that. The document should describe the overall structure of the program, but unless a detail is important to other parts of the project or is an essential core algorithm, the detailed decisions should be left to those people implementing the system.