Re: End User Manual and SharePoint Wiki

Subject: Re: End User Manual and SharePoint Wiki
From: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
To: <vrfour -at- verizon -dot- net>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 7 Dec 2007 09:04:40 -0800

If you were hoping for some magic bullet from me (and on
a Friday, no less), prepare for disappointment.

The key to your situation is that your upper management has
decided what process you should use, apparently without
any input from you. In true Dilbert-esque fashion they've
embraced the latest "new paradigm," they're not going to
change their decision based on anything you have to say
and you're doomed to experience it at least once and be
blamed at least in part for any problems that it causes.

The short answers to your three questions are (1) none,
(2) very carefully, removing any entries that you cannot
verify on the actual product, and (3) you probably
can't, but what may save you is the likelihood that the
only people who input anything to the wiki will be the
same small number who are already feedback providers
in your current process.

What I would do in this situation (besides grumbling
a lot and venting my frustrations by updating my resume
and maybe dropping a buck on a lottery ticket) would be
to ensure that whatever tool is used for this boondoggle
does not allow users to tinker with formats, tracks what
changes are made and who makes them and provides a
means to allow readers to access the real document
(the "unwikified" releases). Then I'd put a really big
disclaimer on the wiki that warns it may contain user-
entered information that the company has not had time
to test and verify and that use of its contents are at the
user's risk.

Gene Kim-Eng

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jim Barrow" <vrfour -at- verizon -dot- net>
> The following is true and correct. Only the names have been changed to
> protect the sane. I'm posting this to get some feedback (I'm looking at
> you, Gene ;^)
> My Technical Publications group is starting on the end user documentation
> for a large ERP project (we've completed the "as is" documentation and this
> is posted on our SharePoint site).
> The geniuses in upper-management have learned what a wiki is, and they've
> decided that the TechPubs group should post the end-user documentation to a
> SharePoint wiki as it is written. The purpose of this is to allow the
> end-users to edit our material. Here's what I see as the main sticking
> points with this:
> 1. The software application has not been completely developed yet, and the
> end-users have never seen a prototype. If they have no benchmark against
> which to measure the documentation, and we're handling the formatting and
> spellchecking, what value could this add?
> 2. We have 3000 end-users. If even a fraction of this group made edits, how
> could these be effectively maintained, validated and incorporated into the
> documentation?
> 3. We're writing the help files in RoboHelp and our deadline is unbelievably
> tight. How can we possibly write, review and edit the documents that we pass
> around within the department *and* maintain edits from ~3000 pseudo-editors?
> Believe me when I say that ANY feedback is much appreciated. I've been
> chosen to build a case against what the TechPubs group sees as a complete
> waste of time.


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End User Manual and SharePoint Wiki: From: Jim Barrow

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