Re: Real Value??

Subject: Re: Real Value??
From: Dan Emory <danemory -at- primenet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2000 14:07:16 -0800

At 12:10 PM 11/27/00 -0800, Andrew Plato wrote:

I have distilled the megabytes of text being generated on this topic. According
to Dan and Tim, complex documentation system have the following benefits:

1) Reusability / single sourcing
2) Configuration management (or change management)
3) Eventual return on investment (ROI) in time savings.

However, these system have inherent faults:

1) Rigidity
2) Tremendous upfront expense
3) "Non-writing" overhead
Two of the "inherent faults" you cite above, upfront expense
and non-writing overhead, are entirely irrelevant if the ROI is
positive. In fact, most case studies have shown huge
ROI mulltipliers (i.e., the upfront costs and overhead are
returned many times over).

The other "inherent fault" you cite, Rigidity, is a product of
your imagination. The structures defined by DTDs don't have
to be any more rigid than a style guide, a template, or an
outline. In fact, with XML, you don't even need a DTD, in
which case "well-formed" XML is produced.

In a recent posting, I described an approach to structured design
that is almost infinitely flexible, allowing many diverse document
types to be defined within a single DTD.

When analyzing your objections to a structured approach, it
becomes clear that your viewpoint results from the fact that
it threatens your own business model, which is "cowboy-style"
contract writing.

The cowboy contract writer rides into a chaotic
company environment having no defined processes and methods
in-place for producing documentation, and blazes away with a
keyboard rather than a six-shooter to produce something fast
that (commendably) gets the company out of the hole, at least
for the moment. But later, when the company adopts standards,
processes, and structure in the documentation area, it finds that the
cowboy-produced documents are a dead-end, because they
manifest all the chaos that existed earlier, thus they cannot be
managed, reused, or repurposed successfully.

As more and more companies create order out of chaos, the
cowboy contract writer will become as anachronistic as Wyatt
Earp would be in a modern police department..

| Nullius in Verba |
Dan Emory, Dan Emory & Associates
FrameMaker/FrameMaker+SGML Document Design & Database Publishing
Voice/Fax: 949-722-8971 E-Mail: danemory -at- primenet -dot- com
10044 Adams Ave. #208, Huntington Beach, CA 92646
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