Document Life Cycle

Technical documents are typically created for a specific product. This procedure can be described with a cycle.

Creating technical documentation, whether for users or a development department, usually follows a certain procedure. The process of creating and maintaining documentation is subject to continuous repetition and runs in parallel to the life cycle of the documented product. In everyday documentation work we find a large variety of products, working methods and organizational forms. Even though these products vary widely, individual phases can be identified when creating documentation, that coincide with the stages of the respective product life cycle (PLC). This leads to a separate cycle of technical documentation, also referred to as the document life cycle (DLC). Individual documents or chapters of a manual required during a specific stage in the PLC can be assigned to this cycle. A DLC can also help to plan documentation projects. The following table shows an example of a PLC (not the complete PLC) and a parallel DLC with the possible documents.

PLCProduct idea/ improvement conceptConceptDevelopment/DesignPrototypeProductionInstallation/ Application/ Maintenance

Installation/ Application/ Maintenance

DLCProject startResearch phaseManuscript preparationCorrection/ReleaseProduction/DistributionBackup/ Archiving


DocumentsKickoff protocolCI guidelines/ Schedule/Marketing material/Specifications/ Target group analysis/ Requirements/StandardsCAD drawings/Development and construction documentsCorrection versions/Release versions/TranslationsOnline-Help/Receipt Copies/Print Documents/Electronic Documents


instructions/User manual/Maintenance instructions

Errata follow-up deliveries/Updates/Disposal instructions