Re: Ideas in Motion

Subject: Re: Ideas in Motion
From: "Anthony Markatos" <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: kkearns -at- cisco -dot- com, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 12:59:56 PST

Tony Markatos responds to Katie Kearns:

You are attending an excellent program. And while testing is very important, poor organization cannot be corrected by testing.

Your class's experience [below] is just further prof that written text is a very poor vehicle to use for documenting procedural information. To quote Ed Yourdon "Procedure is like dance - it defies written description." What Ed means is that procedure is asychronous - multiple things happening at the same time and multi-decision branching. Text is very poor at describing such.

Flow-chart like graphics, supplemented as necessary with text, thats the way to describe procedure.

Tony Markatos
(tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com)

Katie Kearns wrote:

....Every student wrote a short manual on a subject they knew well.
Once they'd written the final draft, everyone brought in their manuals and the materials needed to follow the manuals. They handed over the manuals and materials to another student, and watched as that student attempted to follow the procedure.

It was a disaster. A very, very, educational disaster, as my teacher
intended! Despite the simplicity of the tasks, and the weeks that the
writers poured into writing them -- plus edits of each draft by both a
fellow student and the teacher -- most of the manuals were not followed very well. The most unexpected sentences and situations caused the testers to stumble and make mistakes! I was astounded and learned at the very beginning of my new career just how important testing is.

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