RE: Purpose Driven Technical Writing

Subject: RE: Purpose Driven Technical Writing
From: Tony Markos <ajmarkos -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 16:35:21 -0800 (PST)


I most recently used Data Flow Diagrams to rigorously
define the scope of a larger-scale federal government
system. Prior to my arrival on the scene, the primary
software contractor had spent $25 million in analysis,
but could only produce an incomplete and disjointed
system scope statement. The Congressional Budget
Office (CBO) knew the situation and told the primary
contractor that unless they could produce such
statement, the project would be canceled. The project
had reached a very high-level priority with the CBO.

The primary contractor had failed because, instead of
using DFDs to guide them to discover the essential
requirements that they did not know, they utilized a
technique that was only only good for modeling what
they already knew - Object Oriented Analysis

It took me about 7 working days, using DFDs, to
produce the scope statement which got the CBO signoff
and, in important ways, provided the contractor with
the missing logic needed to enable the project to
progress. When you compare seven work days (at
typical TW contract rate) vs $25 million, it is easy
to see the power of DFDs!

I can provide other examples, but I still have some
Xmas shopping to do, so I have to stop here.

DFDs are not one of several ways to perform a rigorous
task/functional analysis. I'm sorry but there is no
other way than by following the flow of data to
flush-out that which essential but we do not know.

--- "Stevenson, Rebecca"
<Rebecca -dot- Stevenson -at- workscape -dot- com> wrote:

> Being somewhat bemused by your variations on the
> theme of DFDs as the
> most important tool in the tech writer's arsenal, I
> for one would
> welcome an example or two of how they have worked
> for you in the real
> world -- more information about the context in which
> you use them may
> help people here understand from whence your
> advocacy comes.

Do you Yahoo!?
The all-new My Yahoo! - What will yours do?



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RE: Purpose Driven Technical Writing: From: Stevenson, Rebecca

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