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Back in the day technical writers they key component of the software
development process. We called it "documentation first." The writers
worked with the analyst to develop technical specifications. The writers
then began building user and support documentation directly from the
specs. As sections were completed, the documents were turned over to the
developers as functional specifications. After a module or section of
the software could be compiled, it was unit tested against the
functional spec - basically verifying that outcomes matched those
identified in the functional spec. Upon completion of the documentation
and the system, the docs were used as test scripts for integration
This model seems to work well in small writer/developer groups. It also
assumes that a software and documentation process follow similar
All that to say, yes - technical writers should and can be closely
"linked" to software QA. No one knows how a system functions better than
those who document it.
My company is considering a more formal approach to validating the
sections of our operator manuals by developing a more intimate alliance
our internal software QA department. Specifically, we are considering
asking software QA to validate the operator manual at the same time as
software builds are tested.
I have some questions - Any ideas on how such a relationship can best
for all parties involved? Is this a natural alliance (i.e. should
techwriters of software be closely linked with SQA)?
Thanks for the input.
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