RE: What do people work from - more

Subject: RE: What do people work from - more
From: "Wilcox, Rose" <rwilcox -at- ssqi -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2005 11:14:56 -0700

> What happened to the rigour of producing an
> > FS, then DS
> > and then code?
> >
That was just a fad! (grins)

Well, the "waterfall" method of development is good, and, if followed
well, can be helpful for "downstream" products like QA and
documentation. There is also Agile Software Development with a
manifesto like:

* Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
* Working software over comprehensive documentation
* Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
* Responding to change over following a plan

Again, if followed well, Agile Software Development can produce good
results. If the software is usable enough, not much documentation is
needed, and that which is needed can be developed in an agile way as

Currently I work in a shop with 1 1/2 developers, 1 QA guy and one me --
technical writer and soon-to-be Business Analyst again.

A lot of process would get in our way. I am not sure what role my boss
sees the requirements to be created going. I know what he wants and
values in terms of documentation. I don't know as much what the users
NEED as what the perception is that they LIKE. They like having manuals
because none of the other competing software products have manuals.

I was just hired on contract here about 3 months ago with the marching
orders to update the doc to the latest version of the software, so I am
doing what my client wants first -- working in some of what I think is
good for the future into the document changes. If I get extended or
hired permanently I'll keep reshaping the documents / help and the
processes as much as I can towards the goals of financial success for
the software and usability for the users.

I currently work from the software itself, updated as the developer
continues to work on the code. I also have great availability of the
developer and QA guy themselves. There are a few documents that spec
out SOME of the changes, but they are almost painfully "widget-oriented"
-- better than nothing, but not comprehensive or "business-rule"
Rose A. Wilcox
Senior Technical Writer
480-580-0530 (cell)
Rwilcox -at- ssqi -dot- com
Writing is the hardest work in the world not involving heavy lifting. -
Pete Hamill


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