Re: Documentation plan?

Subject: Re: Documentation plan?
From: Fred M Jacobson <fred -at- BOOLE -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1993 16:33:22 PST

> Len Olszewski said:
> > - implementation details; typographical style, document design,
> > how many pages, how many figures, how many screens, online or
> > not, code in the book, how many reviews, color or b&w, tools and

Karen Kay replied:
> Everything you said made absolutely perfect sense to me except this.
> How can you know how many pages/figures/screens until you are done?


Doc plans sometimes exist to a large degree for management. They provide
estimates managers can use to allocate resources and set objects managers
can use to measure performance. Their other purpose to to give everyone
who is concerned (or is in the right place politically) a chance to react
to plans and sign off on them. Later, when you do what you said you would
and they object, you bring out the sign-off sheet with their signature and
_C_Y_A_! The other side is that doc plans can be a focus for power
struggles. Say you work for Marketing, but Engineering has to sign off on
your doc plan. If Engineering is pissed off at Marketing, you and your doc
plan are stuck in the middle (a familiar place for practising tech writers).

I worked at one company where they write doc plans for each release plus
book plans for each book. They can require so many sign-offs that you can
still be spending a significant percentage of your time chasing them as you
distribute drafts to the same people for the next sign-off! (Be sure to
include the time required to get the signatures in your productivity

Like many aspects of tech writing, there's a lot to be said about doc plans.

INTERNET: fred -at- boole -dot- com PHONE: (408) 526-3292 FAX: (408) 526-3055
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