RE: Process kills the

Subject: RE: Process kills the
From: "Smith, Martin" <martin -dot- smith -at- encorp -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 2000 11:21:32 -0600

I confess that the reference to a murder mystery novel was an attempt at
being funny. But I also had a more serious point that I thought would be
inherently obvious. Consider for a moment how an author goes about writing a
book such as a mystery. It would seem to me that structure would be
everything in the initial stages of writing: figuring out where all of the
plot twists and revelations occur. The author would then begin weaving a
story on top of that structure. I don't see where the process of writing
technical documentation is all that different.

I begin by speaking with the developers, sales people, and customers to
identify what needs to go into the documentation, both in terms of reference
information and procedural information. I then build a file for each chapter
and add all of the headings. At this point writing the manual becomes a
modular set of tasks. I can add information in non-sequential order as
information becomes available. I do not have control over the SMEs
schedules. However I can prepare myself to receive information as their
schedules permit.


"Smith, Martin" <martin -dot- smith -at- encorp -dot- com> wrote in message
news:74976 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-
> After reading Dan Emory and Andrew Plato battle it out over the value or
> futility of structure in writing, along with a moving under-plot about
> architecture, I've come wonder what an Andrew Plato murder mystery novel
> might read like. I'm envisioning a novel where the perpetrator is arrested
> in chapter 2 and someone gets killed in chapter 12 but I can't quite
> out what would happen in between.

Could you point me to the exact phrase where I said that writing should be
unstructured chaos? I never said that Martin, that is not my argument.
twisting my argument around to suit your needs.

My argument is that a PROCESS to produce documentation should never
the content. Of course documents should be organized. But that organization
should flow from the content not some pre-determined unmovable hierarchy.

Andrew Plato

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