Re: Starting from scratch

Subject: Re: Starting from scratch
From: wlewis -at- nclogic -dot- com (Wendy Lewis)
To: "techwhirlers" <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2000 14:58:47 -0500

Suzette may sound a litttle pushy here, but I am a self admitted BIG pushy.
I did everything she mentioned below, except without the committee. I told
them what I needed, including software, hardware, and a 21", developed the
style guide and templates, asked to be included in the meetings, then
started cranking out the docs. Two years later, they didn't hesitate when I
asked for a bigger and badder computer.

I've also developed many nic names here. Documentation goddess, because I
turn them out so quickly. Help Wizard, because I do that too. GUI Queen,
because the developers have been instructed to ask me for final approval on
the guis they create. Slash, because of my editorial style. And a few others
usually starting with B, that I can't repeat because of the BIG pushy thing.
It's great to be loved.

-----Original Message-----
From: Suzette Seveny <sseveny -at- petvalu -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Friday, January 07, 2000 10:51 AM
Subject: RE: Starting from scratch

>I can tell you what we did here - because I was in exactly the same
>when I started. As the first techwriter in this company, I was given the
>of developing the process and the standards. Here's what I established:
>I initiated a Documentation Team, to help solidify decisions. This team
>comprised of the VP - ITS, the Director of Software Development, a User
>Representative, a Systems Analyst, and a Senior Developer (along with
>Each decision I made was reviewed by this team and approved.
>I developed a process for developing documentation that began with the
>Requirements doc. This enabled us to deliver the documentation almost
>simultaneously with the software. Every step of the documentation process
>closely mirrors the software development process - reviews, testing,
>We debated online vs printed and made the decision to go with online
>documentation in PDF format. From there, the decision was made to use
>FrameMaker to develop the documentation.
>Then we developed our standards - a style for our documentation, legal
>fonts, layout, reading levels, and all that kind of stuff.
>As well, because they were being so accommodating, I also specified that I
>required internet access, a private office, a faster computer, etc. They
>questioned - they just approved. Of course, it took a little longer to
>convince them the 19 inch monitor was a necessity, but eventually they came
>around to my way of thinking - if only to shut me up! :)
>Hope some of that helps, I am actually writing this in a hurry!
>Suzette Seveny
>Markham, Ontario, Canada
>sseveny -at- petvalu -dot- com or suzette -at- yesic -dot- com
>Any opinions expressed are MY opinions.
>Feel free to have your own.
>Let's agree to disagree
>But Please - Don't Flame Me.
>Of the two basic certainties, death and taxes, death is preferable.
>At least you're not called in six months later for an audit.
>On Thursday, January 06, 2000 7:18 PM, mikala morgan
[SMTP:dolphina -at- visto -dot- com]
>> I have accepted a job with a company that is rebuilding its IT division.
>> have never had a tech writer and don't have a stick of
>> documentation....nothing.
>> I have plenty of ideas, but would like to know what some of you would do
>> your documentation departments if you could start with a clean slate and
>> (within reason) blank check.
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