The more you know, the less you know you know?

Subject: The more you know, the less you know you know?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: John Posada <jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2005 14:18:38 -0500

John Posada wondered: <<Here I am 10 months later, having produced maybe close to a thousand pages of document, and have realized that the more I write, the smaller the dent on how much is left that I need to write.>>

Welcome to my world. One of the things I love most about scientific editing is that there's always more to learn, and each new mountain peak reveals a whole new range of peaks to scale behind it. Wouldn't trade that for the world. On the other hand, I don't have to document it all... my clients do that.

<<My problem is that at the rate I'm going, it will be five years before I've made a dent on documenting what I need to document.>>

Have you tried attacking the problem from the obverse side of the coin? That is, set a target date for each set of deliverables, then do triage: define what is essential and must be done if nothing else gets done, what should be done if I have time remaining, and what I can avoid doing at all (or delay to a future release without harming anyone much)? That focuses one's efforts most wonderfully.

Try that approach, and create a wish list of second-tier items that you will try to complete only after the key stuff is complete. For example, anything that users can figure out from the interface becomes a tier 2 or tier 3 item, depending how obvious it is, whereas high-level stuff that users need to know before they can even begin trying to figure out the interface is always tier 1.

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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
www.geoff-hart.com
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The more you know, the less you know you know: From: John Posada

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