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

Subject: Re: Documentation planning (was Re: FW: Extreme Technical Writing )
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 11:58:09 -0800

SIANNON -at- VISUS -dot- JNJ -dot- com wrote:

Without knowing what the heck you're writing (is it a design document? a help system? requirements? a troubleshooting or procedural manual for a piece of hardware? a memo to say "here I am, look at me"?), how can you write something that doesn't make you look incompetent, or like you're just producing docs that no one needs to make it look like you're busy?
That's easy: Find a small project that's badly needed, then focus on it. What you want is a project that either doesn't need a lot of product knowledge, or else is very easy and quick to learn. Examples include doing some well-organized release notes or a Quick Start guide. Both are useful, but you can learn what you need to know to write them without much effort. In my experience, there's always one of these projects waiting to be done - they're not simply make-work. They may not be the single most important deliverable, but they're usually there.

Nor are you writing these documents simply to impress other people. When you're starting a new job, the amount of material you need to learn can be overwhelming. Completing a small, necessary project can do wonders for your self-confidence in your new situation, too.

In the background, of course, you should still be learning about the technology you're working with.

Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

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