Your TECHWR-L message

Subject: Your TECHWR-L message
From: "Marguerite Krupp" <mkrupp -at- cisco -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Jun 2004 09:13:53 -0400


Paul Carr asked about "Capabilities and Limitations" guides.
We used to call them "Concepts and Characteristics" guides, becuase we could
never get the word "limitations" beyond Marketing. In general, they fell out
of favor with the dominance of task-oriented documentation, but I think
they've just metamorphosed into white papers, extended product briefs, and
the like.

As to what goes into them, I would suggest a general overview of the product
from a user's standpoint, focusing on what users can do with the product
(essentially features and benefits, but with less of a marketing spin than
you'd find in a product brief), then a very high-level description of how it
works (no nuts-and-bolts), then the specifications expressed in a way
appropriate to your audience. This might be a list or table. In this way,
you are actually stressing the capabilities of the product and describing
its restrictions without actually calling them limitations.

You could feature user scenarios, describing typical uses of the product,
too, if you have time.

This type of document is always very popular with sales people, so you might
ask for their input, but take it with a grain of salt.

Good luck with your project.
Marguerite


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