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While others have given excellent advice on how to proceed,
you also need justification -- some sort of explanation why
a full-blown user/reference set cannot be produced in the
time alotted. So, here you go...
Managing Your Documentation Projects, JoAnn T. Hackos,
In the section entitled "Making a Preliminary Estimate of
Required Resources", Ms. Hackos gives the industry standard
for developing a hardware maintenance and troubleshooting
manual at 8 hours per page. This figure includes project
management, research, writing and editing, etc. (page 170)
Given that you're on the East coast, the day is already
shot, so you've got 9 days left. That means that an average
technical writer could produce a 9-page booklet in the time
alotted, assuming that both the information and the SME time
for review are instantly available when you need them. If
you're willing to take on some overtime, you may be able to
stretch the page count to 15, but, IMO as an experienced
pubs manager, that's a push for a junior writer in the time
What you may also want to do is estimate (based on the other
products you've documented for this company) how large a
book the product deserves and how long it will take to
produce the tome.
When you get to be as old as I am and someone makes those
kinds of demands on you, you get to laugh at them and say,
"You're kidding, right???"
> From: dan -dot- gallagher -at- pulsartech -dot- com
> I'm not quite sure how to deal with this situation (besides just trying my
> best). Maybe some of you veterans can give me some insight into dealing
> with it. Or at least prepare me for dealing with these engineers who think
> tech wriers are glorified secretaries (not to reignite that thread).
> My employer has been developing a new multi-processor controlled comm. box
> for over a year now. I repeatedly asked and prodded them regarding my
> documentation duties to no avail. I've tried to talk with developers and
> engineers about the product during it's development to try and learn about
> Now I get this email from my boss's protoge saying they need a new manual
> for this very complex box in two weeks. I don't think I can produce a
> manual for this thing in two weeks. I haven't said anything to them yet
> though, I'm waiting to hear from you all.
> (not crying or whining) I find it somewhat inequitable that everyone on the
> team had unlimited time to work on their parts, but then I get two weeks.
> Pardon me but I'm a little ticked off right now. I'll do the best I can but
> I don't think I can guarantee a manual within two weeks.
> If I'm wrong correct me, but please tell me something. I'm an amateur and
> quite isolated except for this list.
> I'm not worthy, I know.
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