RE: Documentation Process -- LONG

Subject: RE: Documentation Process -- LONG
From: Barb Einarsen <barb -dot- einarsen -at- gnnettest -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 8 May 2001 10:43:58 -0400

I'll share my process with you and I'd like to see other processes.

Since we use a 3rd party writing company, some of the steps may be unique
(but I think it all translates to a regular writing department).

I should also mention that a lot of our products are developed by 3rd party
companies as well (which explains why we don't do many UI reviews).

I'm breaking the process into 2 parts, one for the manager, one for the

* finds out about the project from R&D and gets an estimated deadline
* adds project to a list of all projects (organized by release Quarter)
* coordinates all known projects for the upcoming Quarter
* coordinates, with the 3rd party writing company management, the available
writers for the upcoming Quarter
* assigns writers to projects
* identifies when the project is ready for the writer to start (due to tight
budgets, we have to make sure enough information is available before

* when project is ready to start, the writer comes in for 1 or 2 days and
does all research, interviews, demos ...
* the writer takes the information gathered and creates a Documentation Plan
(sometimes a Documentation and Training Plan)
* the Documentation Plan is signed by the writer and passed to the manager

NOTE: the Documentation Plan includes estimated hours, the project
milestones and the pricing.

* approves and negotiates the approval of the Documentation Plan (the plan
is signed off by the manager, the VP, the business unit manager, and the R&D
project manager)
* when the plan is signed off, the writer can start work (often can't wait
for official approval)

* creates a first draft and sends it for review (repeat for each deliverable
in the Plan)

* reviews all drafts and helps the writer receive all feedback by the
deadline (if required)

* integrates the comments and creates the final version (repeat for each
* works with the R&D build team to ensure the correct information goes on
the CD
* cleans up the source directories and archives the information
* distributes the information internally by updating the public archives

Barb Einarsen
Manager of Product Information Development
GN Nettest, Markham office

voice: 905 948 7527
fax: 905 475 6524
email: barb -dot- einarsen -at- gnnettest -dot- com


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