Re: Documenting missing features

Subject: Re: Documenting missing features
From: Ken Poshedly <poshedly -at- bellsouth -dot- net>
To: Viv Crawford <viv_crawford -at- hotmail -dot- com>, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2010 07:35:46 -0700 (PDT)

Not being a software "documentator", I can only suggest that you place yourself in the users' shoes (or whatever).

How would YOU feel if you accidentally hit up on this undocumented feature that is not undoable? Lots of us get pretty ticked off when we find stuff that was either overlooked or ignored in the user docs we get for software that we ourselves use.

Because your software is a first release, I suggest you make it very clear and repeatedly so that improvements / cleanup will prevail in future releases and even offer free updates.

-- Kenpo




________________________________
From: Viv Crawford <viv_crawford -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Sent: Wed, March 31, 2010 10:24:20 AM
Subject: Documenting missing features


Hello

We have a first release of a new piece of software due out in a couple of weeks.



There is a peripheral module that was added on at the last minute that is what you might call incomplete in that I can add stuff in this module but I cannot yet remove it. I'll be able to remove it in a future release, most likely the next one.



My question is about whether I should document that at the minute you cannot remove these things.



I think I should because:

* if I was a user and I tried to remove these things and spent time and energy trying to figure out how and even reading the doc to find out how I'd be more than a little annoyed that it wasn't documented. This is a bad user experience in many respects and extremely damaging to their perception of the usefulness of the doc.



* I like to think I provide user assistance. I should therefore assist my users as best I can. If I was training a user in this module I'm certain I'd mention that at the minute these things can't be deleted.



I think I shouldn't because:

* it's a very peripheral module -- few will use it



* most users of this release will be pre-sales. This potentially means they will likely read the doc more to get a measure of what the software does than a 'real' user who will likely read the bits they need to.



* most users will be using the doc in a very hand-held (by us) environment. There should be few, if any, customers trying to go it alone.



* it's just plain embarrassing that it's not there.



* my colleagues mostly think I shouldn't.



This software is in no way dangerous, mission critical or anything else where threat of legal action trumps other concerns.



I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.



Thanks

VC




                       
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References:
Documenting missing features: From: Viv Crawford

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