documenting a mess

Subject: documenting a mess
From: "Kim Forbes" <kim_portonova -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Thu, 11 May 2000 13:55:08 GMT

Hi All,
I have been given a project from hell. Usually we get our software from outside venders, and because we are a children's hospital we customize it extensively. I document the newly customized products. Other times our IS department builds customized programs and I document them.
The worse scenerio is when a techie-inclined doctor or marketing-type decides to develop a product. Because doctors have a lot of power here, it happens frequently.

Well I have been given the job of documenting a database product developed by a marketing guy. It is horrible. The developer has no idea what tables and queries are connected to what forms. He built the program as he went along, did not take notes or put in comments. He has forgotten why buttons and fields are on a form, but is afraid to take it out. The same form is called one thing in one place and another name somewhere else. There are hidden fields lying outside of forms and I have to pick through the visual basic code to figure out why they are there--the developer can't remember.

I have to write a system admin guide and a user guide.
Does anyone have any ideas about sorting through this mess.

Kim Forbes
Children's Hospital
Boston, MA 02188

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