RE: Content Moratorium

Subject: RE: Content Moratorium
From: jgarison -at- ide -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2001 15:03:14 -0500

Colin Green wrote..

> Question: Given the flux of software applications in development, and my
> inability to affect that schedule, what is a reasonable demand for a tech
> writer on content moratorium? That is, what can I reasonably demand for
> number of days/weeks that the product be stable in order to compose a
> draft?

My strategy is to figure out what the most the product could do is, and then
write a "skim coat" for everything so that at least everything is minimally
documented. Then, using the skills I teach in my patented "Swamp Draining"
metaphor, I figure out which pieces of the software morass will harden
first, and document them. Then, as more of the swamp becomes terra firma, I
move on and document the solid ground. Eventually, there are still one or
two quicksand areas that I step around as trepidaciously as possible, trying
to catch them as they dry up. This usually gets me as close to getting
everything described as possible at the time they ship. Of course, I keep a
weather eye out on those pieces of dried up sod, too, as often someone is
tempted to add a new hillock, or dig something up that used to work and
replace it with something that may or may not work, but is certainly

If I put too much time and effort into the perpetually slushy stuff,
something awful happens - like they decide to not ship that chunk and I have
wasted a lot of time watching swamp dry when I could have been doing
something more useful.

Well, it makes sense to me ... and I'm starting to sound like Andrew!!!


John Garison
Documentation Manager
150 Baker Avenue Extension
Concord, MA 01742

Voice: 978-402-2907
Fax: 978-318-9376


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