RE: standard document outlines

Subject: RE: standard document outlines
From: "krupp, marguerite" <krupp_marguerite -at- emc -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 20 Apr 2000 14:44:54 -0400

Darryl, et al.,

I have seen documents written to a "standard outline," and the result is
rather like issuing one standard shoe size to everyone in the company.

That being said, the folks who favor Info Mapping (and I'm not one of them)
offer some forms of standardization for documentation, but even they won't
go so far as to offer a standard template.

Textbooks on technical communication, and even the Chicago Manual of Style,
DO offer a sort of "anatomy of a manual," but that's usually at the chapter
level, not what should go into a chapter.

You'll find the greatest standardization among the documents that describe
discrete procedures (such as a teller's manual for a bank).

Did you ask your boss WHY he wants these standard outlines? That might give
you a clue about what he's about. I am aware of an effort in England (I
think) to standardize manuals (check the TECHWR-L archives for the url), and
there's always a section in Technical Communication about documentation
standards, but methinks these may be on a different track from what your
boss is thinking about. I do think your best bet is to ASK.


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