RE: Managing the multitudes (LONG)

Subject: RE: Managing the multitudes (LONG)
From: "Lydia Wong" <lydiaw -at- fpoint -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2001 13:24:33 -0500

Kevin asked for a system of categorizing and accessing emails, memos,
product notes, etc. that are part of his company's system of providing
information to the project team and to the writers.

I know you asked for something automated, Kevin, and I can't help you there,
so I hope someone else has some suggestions. As for us, I guess we're old
and old fashioned, but we rely a lot on paper here. We're nowhere near as
organized as creating what Jane Bergen described in a post back in October
about creating an engineering notebook, but we'd like to strive to attain
that someday. In the meantime, we writers get copied on any and all team
emails regarding the product (except stuff the developers share about the
"guts" of the product, which we and our users never see, or things that have
to do with file housekeeping amongst the developers), and we each print or
categorize these emails in Outlook as needed. Other documents (which are
admittedly quite scarce), get printed as each writer needs them. That is we
all maintain our own sets of documents/printouts/what-have-you as we see
fit. Because we often "specialize" within a product (one writer covers
printing, another covers exporting files, etc.), if one of us receives
something another writer is assigned, we pass it along.

Personally, for large projects, I have multiple folders, both physical ones
and ones that pretty much match in Outlook for organizing emails (some I
print, some I don't). As the project progresses and the documentation fills
out, I often keep a printed copy of the document handy, and insert printed
items within the document where the document will be affected by the item.
That is, if someone sends an email describing some new way printing will
work, I print that out and stick it in the chapter on printing. Then I
routinely go through and "close out" these items, removing them from the
notebook and putting them in a folder of "done" items.

I know many folks would like to see paperless offices, but I guess I'll go
to that kicking and screaming. But as Jane notes in her post about
notebooks, it can be invaluable to simply pull out some email or document an
engineer sent while you're in a meeting, to confirm some change or feature.
We don't each have laptops to bring to meetings, so organized paper copies
are handy for this.

I'll be interested to see what other folks have to say. Good luck in
establishing a process that works for you and your future co-workers.

Lydia Wong
Technical Writer
FarPoint Technologies, Inc.


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