Re: When you need to restructure

Subject: Re: When you need to restructure
From: "Dana Ditomaso" <dana -at- danasolutions -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2001 11:47:51 -0400

Jane wrote:
> 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,
> going to just start fresh from brand-new templates, rather than doing a
> of copying, cutting, and pasting.

I'm in a very similar situation - I just started at a new job where the
consensus is that the documentation isn't very good and is in need of a
serious upgrade.

However, we needed a new training guide in 2 weeks. I managed to do it, but
I needed the help of a little program called TextPad ( The
previous writer loved long, informationally dense sentences, so I would copy
from the old document (Lotus Notes database) into TextPad (which would
remove the formatting), then cut and paste that into the new document, which
used a new Word template that I had created. Finally, I would hack and
slash as necessary.

It worked like a charm and saved me from retyping reams of information.

Another thing that I'm doing is posting a regular update on the progress of
the documentation (with deadlines) on our internal bulletin board, so that
I'm not innudated with questions about when the docs will be finished. I
also took a survey from everyone (developers, marketing, sales, etc.) to
find out what they wanted to see in the new documentation.

Similarly, the previous doc writer is still works here, but luckily for me,
she has absolutely no desire to write any more docs, and is very relieved
that someone else will be doing it full-time.

Good luck!



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When you need to restructure: From: Jane Carnall

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