How do you help clients install software?

Subject: How do you help clients install software?
From: John Cornellier <jcornellier -at- abingdon -dot- oilfield -dot- slb -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2006 10:15:27 +0000

Hi all,

We are reviewing the documents we include to help deploy a software product. Ignoring such post-installation aids as user manuals, reference guides, bug trackers, training, and support, I wish to focus on:

- release notes / readme
- installation guide (could be broken in two: quick start + admin & config. guide)
- anything else e.g. install wizards, CD blurbs, download instructions, etc.

I'm trying to reach a consensus among various interested parties - tech writers, testing, marketing, support, deployment engineers (the guys who burn the CDs and check the target operating environments).

There is not much agreement on what these docs are actually supposed to do. E.g. some people think that the release notes are a kind of quasi-marketing brochure which trumpet the new features, and are used by prospective clients to decide whether to upgrade. Others (including me) think the release notes should be a "warts and all" late-breaking document including known bugs and workarounds.

So I'd be grateful for any pointers to some kind of working definition of the components of deployment support documents, or any random thoughts on the subject.


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