GNATS documentation evaluation

Subject: GNATS documentation evaluation
From: "Jeff Allen" <jeffrey -dot- allen -at- mycom-int -dot- fr>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2001 15:35:10 +0100

For the first two software manuals (two manuals of a series)
that our documentation team has written and completed over
the past couple of months, we have asked the developers to
each make all of their change requests and comments in MS
Word. We then review their colored comments and make the
changes in the master documents.

Since the software team uses the GNATS problem/bug reporting
system for tracking software bugs and change requests, we
are now considering also using GNATS to track change requests
for the documentation (user manuals, reference manuals, etc)
that is evaluated during quality assurance testing cycles.

One advantage to using such a tracking system is that it
automatically keeps track of each request, and it is easy to
get info on the status of the requested changes.
Yet a very possible disadvantage in that a project coodinator
could end up spending a lot of time handling many individual
change requests (evaluating, assigning, etc) for many minor
changes (rewording of sentence, word change, spelling
change). In cases of minor changes, the time required for a
quality assurance tester to report the change (indicate a
clear change report title, write up description, indicate
place in manual, etc) could easily take 2-3 times more
effort and handling time than making the text corrections
in a Word document and a technical writer keeping track of
changes in a spreadsheet.

Can anyone share their experience in using electronic change
request systems like GNATS for documentation changes?

Best,

Jeff

-----
Jeff Allen
MYCOM France
e-mail: jeffrey -dot- allen -at- mycom-int -dot- com



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