Re: Writing a product functional spec AFTER the product is built

Subject: Re: Writing a product functional spec AFTER the product is built
From: Tara English-Sweeney <tens00 -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Keith Hood <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2010 09:08:44 -0400

Thank you Keith. This was a request where we have had little time and I'm
relying on others for product knowledge. I've worked through what I can and
am new to the company. FORTUNATELY, everyone understands that. As you said,
the audience doesn't know it's retroactive and that's a great point for me
to remember.

My product manager is off on vacation (well deserved) but I am quite sure I
will figure out a way to get it done.

Thanks!



On Sun, Jun 27, 2010 at 11:26 PM, Keith Hood <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:

> I've had to do this about half a dozen times. Usually it's because they
> want to modify the product, and the first version of the product was never
> documented or the documents are wrong. Sometimes it's because the company
> is trying to get a government contract that requires them to have
> documentation of all the software tools they use, and they didn't bother to
> document the thing when they built it. For a while it seemed like I had
> become a specialist in retroactive build documents. I had to do a LOT of
> hands-on testing to see what the software actually did. I usually had to
> start by writing and running test scripts, complete with deliberate false
> inputs, and recording screen changes and outputs. Then I could develop
> "requirements" from those results.
>
> Just remember the audience doesn't know your documents are retroactive, and
> they don't need to know that. There's no real difference in the requirements
> or use cases now or before the product is built. The documents still have
> to describe accurately what the software should do in which circumstances.
> They still must explain what the user should expect from the software - what
> they have to put in and what they should expect to see, hear, or smell
> coming back out.
>
> If your stumbling block is an introduction, I suggest you schedule a
> meeting with both the product manager and the marketing department, and the
> three of you try to work out what they want the introduction to do for or to
> the customers.
>
>
> --- On *Sun, 6/27/10, Tara English-Sweeney <tens00 -at- gmail -dot- com>* wrote:
>
>
> From: Tara English-Sweeney <tens00 -at- gmail -dot- com>
> Subject: Writing a product functional spec AFTER the product is built
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Date: Sunday, June 27, 2010, 10:34 PM
>
> Hello. I am wondering how often technical writers have been asked to
> write a
> product functional specification after a product has been built. I have
> been
> working feverishly on one. The goal is for it to be used as a sales tool
> and
> even more importantly, to ensure that customers have a clear definition of
> the the features and functions (via use cases) so there is no
> misinterpretation.
>
> Needless to say, my first cut is nearly done and I'm trying to write the
> introduction. However, in my experience this is a document that is
> typically
> created before the software is created. I have been searching the web for
> examples of these documents or definitions to help me write my introduction
> but I can't seem to find anything out there!
>
> Has anyone done anything like this? I'd love to hear your experiences.
> Also,
> if anyone can point me to resources of similar documentation, I'd
> appreciate
> it.
>
> Thanks.
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References:
Writing a product functional spec AFTER the product is built: From: Tara English-Sweeney
Re: Writing a product functional spec AFTER the product is built: From: Keith Hood

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