Re: Validating Documentation

Subject: Re: Validating Documentation
From: Glen Warner <gdwarner -at- mindspring -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 23 Mar 2002 23:50:06 -0800

"Jackson, Malkia" <MJackson -at- dpconline -dot- com> wrote:

> My company is considering a more formal approach to validating the
> sections of our operator manuals by developing a more intimate
alliance with
> our internal software QA department. Specifically, we are
> asking software QA to validate the operator manual at the same time
> software builds are tested.
> I have some questions - Any ideas on how such a relationship can
best work
> for all parties involved? Is this a natural alliance (i.e. should
> techwriters of software be closely linked with SQA)?

I did something similar as a lone tech writer on a project (well, I
wasn't exactly "alone," per se; my supervisor was just awfully busy on
another project). I was documenting a product I had never seen -- let
alone used -- before, so I had to bounce the new version of this
program against what was in the old (and universally despised, by the
way) manual, which I was rewriting.

Long story short, I found several bugs while trying to figure out how
to use the program -- even after it had been through QA a couple of

I used the senior-most tester there to test parts of the manual (the
new tutorial section); she usually gave me good feedback, though at
times, she was just too swamped to do so. Here, your idea of a more
formal relationship between the two departments would be ideal -- and
eliminate (well, sort of) the problem of too-busy testers.

In an attempt to answer one of your questions: Yes, by all means try
to integrate the two departments. If you could slip a techwriter into
the QA department somehow, that could help immensely with UI issues
("No, no, NO! 'End' does not belong under the Edit menu!"*).

There may be some bruised egos, though ... but that is something that
is hard to avoid. Should your techwriter/QA integration idea work
well, those bruised egos will go away.


> Thanks for the input.

Might be late due to my Digest mode, but ... what the heck. Hope it's
of some use ...


*No, I didn't actually have this discussion; I just pointed out to the
new programmer as one of the UI issues that should be fixed in the
next version.

> -Malkia

"Well, you know what they say: the bigger they are --"
"-- the faster they stomp you into nothing."
--Xander and Willow discuss stategy before battling Glory

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