TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: content structure/strategy From:John G <john -at- garisons -dot- com> To:jopakent -at- gmail -dot- com Date:Thu, 30 Nov 2017 16:47:55 -0500
Sarcasm aside, it's no fun where you are right now, and no easy way out.
But there are ways through the morass.
Iterative development - do you mean agile? If so, that's actually a good
thing for you.
Either way, you need to focus on application usability. Find out what your
users do with your app, find the easiest way for them to do it, and write
it down. The QA team probably know the app better than most programmers -
get to know them and build a good collegial working relationship with them.
As you start using the software you're likely to find as many bugs as they
will - they will appreciate this. Get to know the tech support team - the
guys that talk to the users who call for help are excellent sources for
information both about how people use they system, and how it is best used.
And finally, explore on your own. Pretend you're a customer - go through
system setup until you understand what does what - set up sites, users,
workflows, permissions ... get your hands dirty. Assign yourself a task
that sounds like something users would use your system to do and learn how
to get it to do what you want and the obstacles users will encounter. Play
around - don't worry, you're unlikely to break something, and if you do so
can someone else and it's better if you find that out than a customer.
Use shortcuts and shorthand - you won't waste your time or your users ...
for example Admin > Reports > Audit Trail is shorthand to get them from the
top-most part of the app the the screen they need.
Have fun ... and it really can be fun!
On Thu, Nov 30, 2017 at 2:17 PM, <jopakent -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
> I'm on a team that is changing our software release cycle. We've currently
> producing TBA content in guides that are very UI focused, along with online
> help that is completely focused on the UI. The issue in the past has been
> that the dev teams we support make last minute changes to the UI and
> TechComm misses it. Then we end up scrambling to make last minute revisions
> before release.
> With the new software release cycle, we're no longer tracking progress by
> the same milestones used in previous releases. I.e. - there's no planning
> complete dates, no code complete dates, no test complete dates, etc.
> Instead, the expectation is that teams will develop in an iterative manner.
> To adapt to this new approach to development, we've been asked to approach
> documentation in a way that isn't too tightly coupled to the UI.
> My "sky is falling" response is to envision trying to describe how to
> perform new tasks while having to avoid referring to the controls you need
> to use to complete those tasks.. To say the least, I'm not feeling very
> optimistic. Before I report that in today's brainstorming session, it
> occurred to me that I can't be the first one trying to deal with this
> scenario. It seems like some kind of content structure/strategy solution
> going to be at least part of what we're going to need to change, and, well,
> structure and strategy are not exactly my strong suits.
> Visit TechWhirl for the latest on content technology, content strategy and
> content development | http://techwhirl.com
> You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as vwritert -at- gmail -dot- com -dot-
> To unsubscribe send a blank email to
> techwr-l-leave -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit
>http://www.techwhirl.com/email-discussion-groups/ for more resources and
> Looking for articles on Technical Communications? Head over to our online
> magazine at http://techwhirl.com
> Looking for the archived Techwr-l email discussions? Search our public
> email archives @ http://techwr-l.com/archives
Visit TechWhirl for the latest on content technology, content strategy and content development | http://techwhirl.com