What MS wants, MS gets.

Subject: What MS wants, MS gets.
From: KMcLauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2001 13:24:13 -0500

Dear All,

Short Form
Any pointers on writing for MS, from within another
company that supplies product that might be re-sold
or that might be re-branded?

Long Form
For the past three years, I've been using FrameMaker to
produce PDFs for print or for distribution on CD. Also,
a little bit of html stuff that our resident web guy
then massages beyond recognition, so that hardly counts.

Now, we have to produce some stuff that Microsoft will
want to "assimilate" in one way or another. I'm told that,
for now, I should deal through one "point man" at our end
(i.e., not seek any direct contacts myself).

So, what should I be asking this guy to get for me?
Certainly, a requirement spec would top the list...
as would time-frames... (i.e., what MS will be doing
with my stuff will say a lot about when they'll have
to receive it... relative to my general project release
schedule).

At a guess, I'd think it likely that MS has found
itself in position to drive smaller companies perhaps
a time or two. Maybe they already have a corporate "kit"
made up to guide the lonely writers here in small-company
land. You know, guidelines, templates, commands to "use
Microsoft Manual of Style or Else", and like that. A
submissions kit, if you will. An assimilation-orientation
handbook...

I certainly don't mind learning some new stuff, and maybe
acquiring some new tools and possibly a fast new machine
to run it all ("Gee, Boss, it sez here they want it done
in XP. I think that means the entire suite AND the operating
system. I'll be needing that 2GHz Pentium 4... The 21-inch
flat-panel LCD can go over here..." :-)

However, I also know what big companies are like, such
that there might be a marvelous corporate policy and
ready-made toolkit, but the division we're dealing with
might not even know it exists.
No. Really.

So, it would help if I knew what to ask for, in some
detail and with some confidence ( I can fake the latter).

Those of you who have done work for MS or for companies
supplying/partnering with Microsoft in the past year or
two, can you offer advice?

Also, any thoughts on overall doc procedure, since I
will still need to produce our usual docs (with much
the same content) for the rest of our customers. If
anybody has blazed the trail, I'd appreciate not having
to re-invent that wheel.

I'll summarize for the list.

Thank you.

/kevin
Kevin McLauchlan
Chrysalis-ITS, Inc., Ottawa, Canada
kmclauchlan-at-chrysalis-dash-eye-tee-ess-dot-com
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