Working paper Open Access
The Software Sustainability Institute
When developing research software, it is easy to focus only on goals and activities such as collaborating with other researchers, writing papers, attending conferences and applying for funding. Together, the demands of daily research practice can all conspire to prevent proper planning for the development of research software.
A Software Management Plan (SMP) can help you to define a set of structures and goals to understand your research software including what you are going to develop; who the software is for (even if it is just for yourself); how you will deliver your software to its intended users; how it will help them; and how you will assess whether it has helped them, and contributed to research, in the ways that you intended. An SMP also helps you to understand how you can support those who wish to, or do, use your research software; how your software relates to other artefacts in your research ecosystem; and how you will ensure that your software remains available beyond the lifetime of your current project.
This checklist will help you to write an SMP. It consists of sections that cover the key elements that an SMP should include.