Re: True insignificance... and release notes

Subject: Re: True insignificance... and release notes
From: Victoria Camgros <vcamgros -at- persistence -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 06 Mar 2002 13:45:06 -0800

At 04:28 PM 3/6/2002 -0500, Cadorette Johanne wrote:

I couldn't help but laugh when I read this. Even though the release notes are not the object of Karen's frustation, in my company, the very mention of release notes seems to send developers and managers diving under tables and scurrying behind servers. We're having a difficult time with this process, and the relationship between the QA department, production, documentation and the release notes is unclear.

I'm wondering how you all deal with release notes. Is your doc department fully responsible for them? What processes, if any, are in place to make sure the information is circulated effeciently? Who is ultimately responsible for their contents, their writing and creating the final documents? If the doc dept. handles the release notes, do you have to tackle people in the hallways to get them to fork over the list of known bugs, or is there a system in place by which that information is just magically passed on to you?


In our company, technical communications is responsible for developing the release notes, but just about everyone on the team has some kind of input to them. The development manager has review responsibility, though s/he often delegates it to a team member. The product manager is supposed to have responsibility for the product matrix (which versions of which operating systems with which 3rd party integrated software and versions), but that's usually handled between the development manager and the writer--product management might review it.

Support is responsible for delivering and reviewing the defect list. For some products, we can use the bug tracking software, but other products (brand new ones) aren't fully integrated and so we can't. And there are always those last minute bugs (minor ones with workarounds) that the discovering developer sends to the writer in an email because they don't have time to put them in the bug track yet.

"Special features" (for specific customers) and migration information (sometimes), and other nonsense typically do not go into the main documentation set. They go into the release notes. Individual developers are usually responsible for reviewing these notes.

Release Notes is the single most hated writing assignment. Everyone in the flight path ducks and covers whenever they are mentioned.

I'd love to hear from some folks who do these efficiently.

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