RE: Scoping a DocumentationProject??

Subject: RE: Scoping a DocumentationProject??
From: "Sharon Burton" <sharon -at- anthrobytes -dot- com>
To: "Tony Markos" <ajmarkos -at- yahoo -dot- com>, "Bonnie Granat" <bgranat -at- granatedit -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2006 07:36:19 -0800

And there is a good reason for, in your opinion, no TW book covering
"determining the scope of the system". Because for most products, we don't
care what the scope of the system is; we care what the user will do with it
and what they need to know to do that stuff. We are user focused because the
first rule of tech writing is "Consider your audience".

For example, at my employer, we write about manufacturing automation
products. These are large and complex products. I don't need to understand
how the back end is working, how the databases talk to each other, how they
store data, how they send data back and forth to the PLCs. I need to know
that this stuff happens but, because it's transparent to the user, I don't
need to have the scope of this information. Knowing it happens is enough for
me because the user assumes this stuff is all there as part of the product
and they never involve themselves in it. (Our users are not allowed to play
in the databases, etc, because they will break things and that's just a bad

Estimating is, in my opinion, the process of finding out what the user needs
to do, how much time is available and then determining how to get the
deliverable in the time available. It's part art and part science. I'm very
good at it because success in my business required I be good at it - I lost
a lot of money while I was getting good at it. I don't need to know the
scope of the product, I need to know the time available, the money
available, and what the user wants to do with the product. That's it.

Tony, we understand that you are very proud that you have a tool called
Analysis. And we're all delighted that this tool works for you in the cases
you need it. But asking us questions that sound like you want to learn
something when, in fact, the questions are a beard to yet again tell us
about your nifty tool is a bad idea. You are obviously uninterested in
learning anything, which, in my opinion, is a shame because you have access
to about 10,000 people years of experience in just about all industries on
this list. Personally, I learn from this list all the time - I've been in
this field for about 15 years and teach this stuff, for goodness sakes.

BTW, I'm hiring writers. I would not hire you, Tony. Ever. You are unwilling
to listen, you spend a lot of time being right, and you waste way too much
time "scoping the system". I could not manage you because you are
unmanageable. Someday you will need a job and the people on this list have a
long memory.

Now go with god.


Sharon Burton
CEO, Anthrobytes Consulting
Immediate Past President of IESTC

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+sharon=anthrobytes -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+sharon=anthrobytes -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com]On
Behalf Of Tony Markos
Sent: Thursday, January 05, 2006 7:04 AM
To: Bonnie Granat; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Scoping a DocumentationProject??


What book? I will bet 50 to one that no TW book
exists that talks about how to determine the scope of
a system. And scoping is probably THE major input to
time estimating!

Tony Markos

P.S. I have already read alot of TW books.

Bonnie Granat:

... I would recommend consulting a few books that
treat how to
do so [determine the scope of a system] if you have no
applicable experience in conducting research.


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RE: Scoping a DocumentationProject??: From: Tony Markos

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