Re: Rule of thumb for doc time based on development time?

Subject: Re: Rule of thumb for doc time based on development time?
From: Peter Neilson <neilson -at- alltel -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 09 Dec 2005 13:52:55 -0500

Tony Markos wrote:

What I would do is decompose the tasks into equal
sized pieces, each of which can be described in about
a page of text. You then simply determine how long a
typical page takes to document and then multiply time
per page by number of tasks.

Someone (perhaps even the estimator) will say, "No, that
figure is much too large. Make it smaller."

Resist all such attempts, yours or anyone else's. You
might also benefit from figuring out *why* the estimate
is needed in the first place. Is it to justify
replacing four tech writers with a contractor who'll
be brought in for two months "when needed"?

It should be possible to figure out the time for
documentation by counting up the number of characters
in a document similar to the proposed new one, and
dividing that number by an assumed typing speed of
50 words per minute (five characters per word, or
250 characters per minute). So a book that's
250,000 bytes long should take maybe 1000 minutes
to write, right? (I wonder if anyone does this?)

Seriously, what I use is a docplan. And I revise it
as I go along. It always mentions that changes to
the software plan will generally affect the docplan.

--Peter, with another dose of pessimism
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