Tracking Revs with the Naive User

Subject: Tracking Revs with the Naive User
From: "Justin Ressler" <JRessler -at- ewa-denver -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2002 08:23:34 -0700



I am looking for a simple, but (anal retentive) efficient way of tracking
revisions with users that are not known for their computer skills.

What way can I track changes made to documentation that is convenient for
the QA individual, but useful enough for me to track document changes.
Forms, tables, hieroglyphics?

(Background)

I write the procedure based on first hand knowledge of the hardware. I
usually sit down with a technician and take the piece of equipment apart
(usually simple panels, that require little actual know-how). After the
procedures (about 120 procedures, each independent of the other) are
written, I submit them to the lead shop technician for review. He sometimes
performs them, more often than not, he just reviews them in his head
(desktop comparison). While this is frustrating, because I know he does not
know each panel that well, it may be frustrating to him to validate my work.

While there are other subordinate technicians who are extremely intelligent
and computer savvy, the lead takes it upon himself to do all the QA.

Last time, I gave him the procedures and he typed them (read slowly and
methodically using a hunt and peck motion) into a predefined form. The
form was great (not designed by me, so I am not tooting my own horn). The
form allowed for multiple revs, but the gent didn't seem to understand that
these changes need tracked.

I created a hardcopy table for him to mark when revs were completed and
resubmitted to me, but it was not used.

I don't want to create waves here, I love interacting with the techs, and
they are very good at what they do. It is an extremely small company (12 of
us?) and they are all very intelligent. I have made subtle suggestions that
the more computer savvy folks do the QA work, to no avail.

For all other "bug" tracking we use a program called "Mozilla" (Bugzilla).
While this is great, there are often such minor changes in the documentation
that it may not warrant the time spent in the program (plus, hunting and
pecking is a challenge, I cannot foresee the disasters using an Intranet
based tracking program)

When I approached the issue last week, the individual proposed a table to
track changes...it looked very similar to the same table I tried to
institute last time.

How can I better track changes in procedures and revision levels so that the
documentation can be changed before delivery of the product, and monthly
updates can be generated?


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