2 weeks!

Subject: 2 weeks!
From: "Sherry Michaels" <sherry -dot- michaels -at- docntrain -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 5 May 2004 15:10:18 -0700

I've been following this thread carefully. I just got a call from
someone at a software development house who wanted a manual, online help
and training done by the end of May.

We told him we'd come see him in about 10 days. If he'd still like to go
forward with us by that time, I'll come in and assess how much chaos
he's really facing, and make recommendations.

This situation is not unusual. It is completely normal for developers
not to realize that tech writers have a process and a methodology and
are often more disciplined than they are. Sometimes it takes an
iteration of failure for someone to be open to success.

The advice so far has all been good. As far as the estimate per page is
concerned, I think that is a little high. Joanne Hackos wrote out that
estimate some time ago, and things have changed significantly. Again,
with good process and methodology, 3 hours per page (assuming all the
usual variables are stable) is a good pace.

By "all the usual variables" I mean:

A template has been designed that is easy to use and easy to maintain.
The subject matter expert is accessible and cooperative.
The product is at least 80% complete, and (if software) is stable.
The computers are stable (virus and worm troubles are down to less than
5% impact).
The review and sign-off process is agreed upon up front with a
single-voice for collating multiple sets of comments.
The manual content is kept to only what is needed when it is needed, and
the audience is a known quantity.

Two weeks is tough to do much more than "Getting Started" or

We recently suggested considering our manual as part of a beta-test, and
positioned it not to be any more stable than the software product it is
shipped with. Setting expectations up front is very, very important.

I'm glad, however, that these are the troubles we are experiencing now.
Projects on a short deadline are better than no projects at all.

Sherry Michaels

Michaels & Associates, LLC
11639 E. Wethersfield Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85259


SEE THE ALL NEW ROBOHELP X5 IN ACTION: RoboHelp X5 is a giant leap forward
in Help authoring technology, featuring Word 2003 support, Content
Management, Multi-Author support, PDF and XML support and much more! http://www.macromedia.com/go/techwrldemo

>From a single set of Word documents, create online Help and printed
documentation with ComponentOne Doc-To-Help 7 Professional, a new yearly
subscription service offering free updates and upgrades, support, and more.

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archiver -at- techwr-l -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit
http://www.raycomm.com/techwhirl/ for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: RE: billing ethics
Next by Author: Business Model Reality Check
Previous by Thread: Re: Shift in Job Profile, Please Suggest
Next by Thread: Customized and customizable help for web-based application

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads