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You want to produce a manual which explains how to do whatever the user is
going to attempt, right? Well, maybe someone has beaten you to it. Do you
have a Quality Assurance or Testing group? If they have test plans which
they use to check that the product is doing what the original specs said,
maybe you could "borrow" the plans. I started to write a user guide for a
complex program and found it very hard to understand what it was all about.
However, as part of our development process, someone (not me, thank
goodness) has to produce a test plan and then apply it to the product under
development. I only found out by accident that this particular document
existed, but it made life a lot easier. The test plan was designed to test
individual processes, so it was written in such a way as to test the results
of very short tasks. Each one was then modified so that all the variations
were covered. A little imagination and a bit of adaptation and hey presto!
- a user guide.
Gill Rollings, Technical Writer, Internet Systems Ltd
gill -dot- rollings -at- isl -dot- com