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Diana Ost asked: How many of you have been asked to document a software
application, but were not expected to need access to that software?
Once, long ago, I was part of a writer team assigned to document a large,
integrated, manufacturing sfotware project. Unfortunately, politics within
the company were such that we were not allowed to talk with developers, see
or play with the software, or talk with SMEs. We were given specs, screen
designs, and some other sadly, badly out-of-date documents. Our weekly
status reports to the team manager kept repeating the constraints which were
forwarded to the client representative. The client representative (also a
contractor from another company) said to work with what we had and consider
ourselves lucky. Needless to say the project was a disaster waiting to
happen and when it did....
That was a lesson I'll never forget. I can work without specs and design
docs, have done it many times as long as I have access to software,
developers, and SMES. I have interviewed with prospective clients and asked
relevant questions regarding access. If I'm told in no uncertain terms there
are specs but no software, developers, or SMEs, I politely decline the