RE: terminology question (and a bit of a rant)

Subject: RE: terminology question (and a bit of a rant)
From: "Lathrop, Sarah" <Sarah-Lathrop -at- forum-financial -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 3 Sep 2002 16:30:29 -0400


If I am reading this correctly, the IT department is not asking for a rewrite of the online help; they are asking for a business process document, which is a different type of documentation. My understanding is that a business process document describes the way the business goes about doing various tasks to accomplish its daily work, using whatever tools they need to do the job. In this situation, I would expect a business process document to read something like this:

1. First thing in the morning, open the XXX application and do A, B and C.
2. Print a report and verify the results.
3. Fax the report to the client.
4. After you receive the morning mail, go back into the XXX application and do D to update all of the clients who sent in their forms.
5. Print a summary report.
6. Give the summary report to your supervisor. This must be done by 4:00 p.m..

Our company has to write business process documentation to satisfy auditors. We deal with financial information and they want proof that we are practicing procedures that protect the data and minimize errors.

It sounds to me like there is a disconnect between documentation, IT, and the business. I am assuming that the procedures you wrote for the online help are just for the application itself and not for the business process. If that is true, the business should be writing the other piece and not rewriting the procedures for using the software. If your company requires business process documentation to be part of the online help (and it sounds like that's where they want it), then you need to know that when you do your projects and incorporate it into the help. In that case, the business people would be your SME's for that part of the documentation.

Obviously the business needs help to fulfill their part of this particular project. They seem to have misunderstood what it is that they should write. I'm sure they are very disgruntled at this point since they are trying to do their daily work as well as write these procedures. Is there a way that you can work with them to get the information that is needed to add the business processes to the existing documentation? I'm sure they would be much relieve to be rid of this documentation project that has been dumped on them.

I don't see this as a style guide issue but more like a communication disconnect. Figure out what the real problem is and work to solve it.


-----Original Message-----
From: Rosemary J Horner [mailto:rhorner -at- quellos -dot- com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 03, 2002 2:10 PM
Subject: terminology question (and a bit of a rant)

Hi everybody,

The first product I wrote help for (6 months ago) has not yet been released.
It's an internal product to be used by one department. The holdup was that
the IT dept wouldn't release it til that department had written a business
process doc that described how it would be used. They're finally doing it,
but what they've done is try to write, from scratch, a "manual" that covers
all the same material I did in the online help

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