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How to Write a Good Software Design Document (SDD)

If you’re a software developer, you surely dislike the process of designing software requirements. You would rather directly dive into coding and get the job done. However, approaching custom software development directly might lead to disastrous outcomes.

The entire development team must be aware of what needs to be created and how to operate with it. Being compatible with system requirements is also necessary while working with a client as it makes sure that both the parties approve the deliverables and there is no chaos at the time of the handover.

Therefore, sometimes it might feel like a boring task, but documenting design requirements and then creating software design is a must for every developer.

In this post, we’re going to know how to write a good software design document in the initial stage to make the further custom software development process work smoothly and efficiently. So without any further ado, let’s get started!

What is a software design document?

A software design document is basically a written report of a software product design that describes the overall architecture of a product. Such software designs are written by designers or project managers and then they give the overview of the project to the software engineer and make them understand the project of what needs to be built and how.


A simple and well-written design doc helps to ensure the software design specifications are well-understood by the developers and there is no doubt in mind. Apart from this, it also includes what can be done with the product and how to achieve it.

Designing software documents is really important to document all the software design requirements to coordinate the efforts of a large dedicated team and describe each part of the software so that developers can operate well on it. In short, it is one of the best ways to loop everyone into the process who is involved to develop the product.

What is included in a design document?

Here are the basic and important things that should be included in your design doc:

Title: It is an important section, which cannot be skipped. So do not forget to add the title to your doc.

Introduction: Add an introductory part to your document that includes what your system is about.


System Overview: Make sure to add an overview of the document including a general description and functionality of the system.

Architectural Strategies: Explain the project strategies as they might affect the whole system.

System Architecture: In this section, add a high-level overview of the system responsibilities and functionality and then assign it to subsystems.

Glossary: Make a list of defined terms and techniques that you have used throughout the document.

Now we assume that you’re familiar with software design documents, so now let’s move further and discuss how to write software design documents.


How to write a good software design document?

There is not any specific way to write a software design document, it is purely dependent on personal preference. However, a good design document would only include useful information such as technical specification documents, user stories, functional descriptions, and system architecture.

1. Try to make it collaborative and request feedback

The one who is involved in the project should be working on the process from the very beginning stage so that nothing important is missed. If they’re not involved in it, they might miss important information related to the project. However, you’ll find thousands of documentation tools that can facilitate project workflows.

2. Add charts and diagrams

Whether it is an article, story, or design document, pictures are the only ways that make it more attractive and useful. So adding charts and diagrams can be useful to compare some potential options which make it easier to parse than text. Make sure to add a source link to the editable version of the diagram where you have added the snapshot, so you can easily update it in the future as things inevitably change.

3. Don’t make it lengthy and complex

As we discussed earlier, there are no rules about the length of the document, but keeping it short and simple is recommended. If you’re adding unnecessary information to the doc, it might make the doc complicated and hard to understand, so try to make it precise and simple by adding only the required information. Whereas if your document is lengthy, it might create complexity in the future and requires more time to keep updated. You can keep it up to five pages and use clear and simple language to describe your solution to your development team.

4. Write as simple as possible

Make it simple and don’t try to make it sound like someone is going through the academic papers. Your software design document is written to describe your solutions and get feedback from your development team. So make sure to use simple words, short sentences, bullet points, numbered lists, and concrete examples.


5. Don’t let it become outdated

Your software design document might not remain the same. It might be updated later in the future if required. So it is important to keep all the stakeholders on the same page and don’t forget to update the doc whenever you modify the original solution. To drive your stakeholder’s attention, update the solutions and give them an instant notification so that they can track new changes and restore new versions.

Importance of software design documents

The importance of writing a good design document is that it delivers a simple description of the system that helps developers to proceed further to the development stage and that they have a clear understanding of how to start and what to achieve. Also, it makes sure that the software product is created in such a way that it satisfies all the project requirements.

A software design document is not only useful to others to understand the system, but also forces you to think about the entire system architecture and eliminates future roadblocks. It helps you organize and deliver your thoughts which helps stakeholders to understand how to satisfy design decisions and business objectives.

Having a design document keeps all the project aspects on track and improves the quality of software. It focuses on designing, developing, maintaining, and transferring knowledge to the development team. However, designers are required to find a sweet spot between business objectives and user requirements.

Wrapping Up

You may find this task tedious and time-consuming, but make sure you don’t overlook it. If you’re using a software design document template and fast and robust documentation tool, you can easily create awesome software documents and make sure that everything is being documented. It keeps your project moving, improving, and achieving what you have desired.


We hope you find this useful. It would be great for us if you share this post on Facebook or Twitter to reach more audiences. Feel free to approach us in the comment section given below and ask your queries. We will get back to you soon.

Happy reading!

Hi, I am Sadhana and thank you for stopping by to know me. I am a work-at-home mom of One Cute Baby and a firm believer in making 'working from home' success for everyone.

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