When you need to restructure

Subject: When you need to restructure
From: "Jane Carnall" <jane -dot- carnall -at- digitalbridges -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2001 15:48:40 +0100

I've just had a really productive meeting with a couple of designers
(internal customers for the documentation set) and have come to the
conclusion that the documentation set pretty much needs some terrific
restructuring. Since the content also needs some considerable rewriting, I'm
going to just start fresh from brand-new templates, rather than doing a lot
of copying, cutting, and pasting.

The advantages are: (1) I've only been on the job two weeks, I have nothing
to lose by re-starting (2) I don't risk getting content in two places at
once (3) I make sure the documents are all up-to-date with the most recent
version of the template (4) I can quickly set up skeleton versions of what
the manuals ought to be.

Disadvantages: (1) For a while, it's going look like I not only haven't done
anything, I've actually gone backwards. (2) I won't be able to take
advantage of all the long, densely informative but unstructured sentences
that my predecessor wrote (this isn't really a disadvantage) (3) Er, can't
think of any other disadvantages: well, except that my predecessor is still
working here and did put in a lot of work and I don't want to imply that it
was all worthless, because it wasn't: it just doesn't seem to be exactly
what's needed.

What do other people do when a project's documentation needs a complete
rework? How avoid treading on people's toes?

Jane Carnall
Technical Writer, Digital Bridges, Scotland
Unless stated otherwise, these opinions are mine, and mine alone.


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