RE: Documentation planning (was Re: FW: Extreme Technical Writing )

Subject: RE: Documentation planning (was Re: FW: Extreme Technical Writing )
From: KMcLauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 11:58:55 -0500

Steven Brown [mailto:stevenabrown -at- yahoo -dot- com] said

> Spend the first 2-3 weeks getting the "lay of the
> land." Talk to department heads and key players to
> understand the product and workflow. Use the product
> if possible. Review existing documentation. Keep notes
> of what you see.
> Talk to senior management to discuss what they
> perceive to be your priorities. Use this time to
> discuss what you've learned thus far, to present your
> preliminary assessment of the state of documentation.
> You're not at a point yet when you can say, "Acme
> needs these four documents...,"

Well! One end of the spectrum heard from... <grin>

When I took this job, 3-1/2 years ago, we got to
that point you describe before my *interview* was
I started work five days later (only because my
boss at the company I was leaving insisted on some
handover to my replacements), and I had a manual due
for the end of the following week.

There were fewer than 40 employees at that time,
and it still took more than a month before I
even *met* them all. By that time, I was well into
several other docs, including the second revision
of that first one.

Perhaps I'm in the wrong alternate universe, and there
actually are companies that allow a new "onliest"
writer the luxury of that much settling-in time.
On the other hand, the flying start at this company
was rather fun, and continues to be so.


Kevin McLauchlan
Only Technical Writer
Chrysalis-ITS, Inc.

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