Issues about documentation process/management

Subject: Issues about documentation process/management
From: SB <sylvia -dot- braunstein -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2008 14:29:42 +0300

I am not sure that I will or want to remain in this position but while I am
still in it, I would like to figure out the following:

1. My boss wants the writers to be responsible per projects. However, the
size of some documents is just way too big to handle, especially if they
have to be delivered in a short period of time. So, I suggested that for the
larger projects (800 pages), we should divide the project among the writers
in a reasonable manner so that the projects can be done on time. I believe
that having one writer work on one large document by him/herself is a recipe
for failure mainly because of the size, unless the writer is given a very
long time to do it, which is never the case. So, what should I recommend?

2. What is best for the user? One large pdf file or several files.
My concern is that when giving several files, it may look like it is not a
single product. However, maybe one file may be hard for the user to manage?
Any input on this?
3. There are some serious problems with the current quality of the
documentation as a result of lack of time and personnel - We need to decide
about the importance of documentation. Our company is growing and I wanted
to know how long it should take per writer to write let's say a 200 page
document from scratch or do a major rewrite with an existing backbone,
assuming that some sections can be relatively complex. What is considered a
reasonable estimate of time per writer, per page? In our company, we are
given a date and expected to deliver by then because the documentation is
part of the product delivery. If we have lots to do and not enough
personnel, is is reasonable to ask the writers to sacrifice on quality and
focus on contents first? If not what should be done?
4. Should I expect my boss to set the documentation priorities and to
have a weekly meeting on the status of the documentation? Not sure why but
he cancelled the weekly meetings and he does not have much time nor interest
in dealing with the documentation issues.
5. Is it unreasonable for me and too demanding to request that a writer
meets a deadline even it it means sacrificing quality considering the
situation?. Or should I insist that my company delivers quality and let my
them deal with the consequences when projects that are not done as a result
of lack of time and personel?



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