Re: New writer needing advice

Subject: Re: New writer needing advice
From: Penny Staples <pstaples -at- airwire -dot- com>
To: Lori Lake <thelakes -at- sympatico -dot- ca>
Date: Fri, 08 Sep 2000 09:23:48 -0500

Here's my .02:

You have more power in this situation than you realize.

First, spend a few days getting familiar with the product.

Second, decide what you think needs to be done, in an ideal world (on-line help,
quick reference guide, user guide, etc).

Third, spend a few hours preparing outlines with time estimates, so that you can
demonstrate what will take so much time. Make sure to include production time
(printing and binding). You want to have details at your fingertips, not just
vague statements of opinion.

Finally, sit down with your management. Make them aware of what you can produce
given the time you have and the resources you have available. They can have:

1. The full documentation set done badly - inaccurate because there won't be
time for developers to review it, and probably incomplete for the same reason.
2. A carefully selected subset of documentation done well, with full
documentation to follow later.
3. No documentation at all, if you get frustrated and leave.

If it were me, I'd push them, hard, toward option #2, or I'd pick option #3 for
them. In any case, involve them in the decision so that they know what they're
getting, and why. If they pick option #1, get started, and do your best, but
update your resume and look for something else ASAP. You don't want to work for
a place like that.

As for adding more people (either full time or contract), if you only have two
months, then you don't have the time that a new person will need to get up to
speed, unless you get someone very good (not easy to find on short notice, and
not cheap).

Best of luck.

Penny Staples
staplesp -at- airwire -dot- com






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