RE: True insignificance... and release notes

Subject: RE: True insignificance... and release notes
From: kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2002 06:28:23 -0700

In my jobs I've seen them handled two EXTREMELY different ways.

1) They are considered a necessary evil, and it's the doc team's problem
to crank 'em out. A just-the-facts README is sufficient, in plain text
format. Good luck getting them reviewed.

2) They are considered a valuable marketing tool, used to coax customers
into upgrading to the next version. We literally spent more time on these
than actual documentation. Each modification had to be documented in a way
that described not just the new/changed functionality, but the BENEFIT of
this change. These were reviewed multiple times, and the company even PAID
people extra to review them. Volunteers were sought throughout the
company, and offered an hourly bonus for any time spent reviewing the
docs. In addition they were ALL reviewed and edited by the VP of
Marketing. Final versions were formatted, printed, and shipped. Our actual
documentation was given nowhere near this much attention.

As arduous as the latter approach was, it was a valuable writing lesson
for our team, who found the combination of describing function and benefit
quite challenging.


- Keith Cronin
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