Re: What Are Writing Skills?

Subject: Re: What Are Writing Skills?
From: Tony Markos <ajmarkos -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2005 13:01:10 -0800 (PST)


Ref Your Example:

My on-line research indicates that structuring
documentation is different that structured writing. I
asked about structurd writing.

With DFDs I do the same thing you talk about: Perform
analysis and then, based upon having a properly
structued understanding of the product, determine the
proper structure of my documents. Note: In doing
this, 98% of the time is in doing analysis. The
actual design decision is just a natural fallout of
the analysis.

Dick Margulis offers a concrete example of structured

Tony, some years ago I worked on a project team that
designed a complicated piece of medical equipment. The
machine had several modules, each of which required
cooperation among mechanical, electrical, and
software engineers. The modules interfaced with each
other and with the outside environment, as well.

There were several possible ways to organize the
design specification for the machine. There were, in
fact, several possible ways to conceptualize the
hierarchy of the system. We could have had a document
on the electrical subsystem, another on the fluidics
subsystem, another for the mechanical subsystem,
another on the software subsystem. And in
each of those documents we could have discussed the
fourteen modules. That was one approach we
considered. We could have organized the
documents according to the bill of materials. In the
end we decided that creating a design document for
each module, although it would require more total
signatures from engineers to do so, would result in a
document that would be more intuitive and transparent
to outsiders reviewing the design (future project
leveraging the design for a more advanced product,
manufacturing and service engineers trying to get
a handle on how they should work with the machine,
regulators inspecting the quality system, etc.). So
that was the structure we chose for the

The team that created the user manual for the machine
took an entirely different approach. They listed the
user interfaces (ports for introducing various
supplies and test substances; various input and
output screens; controls and adjustments) and
proceeded to instruct users in how accomplish their
six or seven basic types of tasks by interacting with
those various interfaces.
As I suggested in an earlier post in this thread,
> the structure of the
> machine in n-space was invariant; but each document
> was a projection in,
> perhaps, two-space of that structure, in such a way
> as to preserve all
> important information in each document.>
> Now you can continue claiming that you don't
> understand what I'm saying,
> but please stop claiming that I haven't said it.

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Re: What Are Writing Skills?: From: Dick Margulis

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