University of Oulu

Effects of automatically updated database documentation on the work tasks of IS professionals and end-users

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Author: Värttö, Aliisa1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.1 MB)
Pages: 53
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : A. Värttö, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-06-15
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Halonen, Raija
Reviewer: Halonen, Raija
Mononen, Jukka


This study analysed the effects of automatically generated database documentation on the work tasks of IS professionals and end-users. The effects were analysed with case study approach in one Finnish software company that provides customer information system to their customer companies. The availability of the consistent database documentation was a new situation for both IS professionals in the case company and for the end-users in the customer companies. The case company wished to understand, how the documentation would affect the work tasks of the two stakeholder groups.

Database documentation is used for database design and analysis tasks. Database documentation is created in the development phase of an IS and maintained afterwards. Yet, the documentation can end up stagnated and the documentation maintenance is commonly considered a burden for the IS professionals. Database reverse-engineering allows automatic generation of database documentation, thus erasing the manual maintenance of database documentation.

The research data was gathered using two separate questionnaires for the end-users and IS professionals. Both qualitative and quantitative data were gathered. The questionnaire’s open questions were analysed using content analysis and closed questions were considered descriptive statistics.

According to the findings, database documentation supports both IS professionals’ and end-users’ in their work tasks. Database documentation was considered important for the efficiency of their work tasks. Documentation aids the database users to gain knowledge of the database structure and prevents false interpretations. Database documentation also allows the users to plan work better and to conduct tasks with fewer increments. Additionally, documentation allows a better degree of independent work and gives courage for the employees to familiarize themselves to new parts of the database and information system.

The consistent, up-to-date database documentation has positive effects on the work tasks of both IS professionals and end-users. Lower workload, better understanding of the system and less false interpretations indicate that software companies would benefit from documenting their databases in more detail and more consistently, for example, using database reverse-engineering. Consistent database documentation benefits all of the database users.

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Copyright information: © Aliisa Värttö, 2020. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.