Re: Modular products...

Subject: Re: Modular products...
From: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2013 09:24:19 -0500

I seem to remember having been in this situation, and we resolved it handily by treating the "don't have" modules as the "you might want to get" modules. Assuming that you can clink on something to see the documents, then the don't-haves are greyed out, and if you click on them you get an invitation to arrange for a demo or for purchase. Occasionally they are "mutually exclusive--if you have the Y module you cannot use the X module." So you just make it say that.

The key is to make the documentation sufficiently integrated into the software, automatically configuring like any other aspect of the module, such as library or database requirements.

The alternative, that I've seen in a few products, is for the docs to lag by a release or two. This method eliminates the need to match the docs to the product at the last minute or in the nitty details. The customer service people take up the slack. An economic model that accounts the cost of customer service into pricing can help; one that bills customer service as a feature can do quite well, until the competition catch on and skewer you with it.

On Fri, 11 Jan 2013 08:25:24 -0500, Sarah Blake <sarah -dot- blake -at- arieso -dot- com> wrote:

...this has got to be a solved problem by now, right?

I've just moved to a new gig, and they have a product setup where the 'product' is the platform, plus a number of optional and mutually independent modules that are 'switched on' according to the license.

I don't want to confuse the users with documentation for modules they don't have access to, and I don't want to have to manually generate tailored documentation for every sale. Has anyone successfully used other options?
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Modular products...: From: Sarah Blake

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