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Michael Cooperman asked how we know if anyone ever reads our lovingly and
laboriously composed work. Further to the replies already received:
I've managed to bully or cajole the people involved in testing on my project
into using the User Manual and Installation Guide as part of the testing
process. That way, they get to use both the software and the instruction
set that the end users will have to rely on. If both are good, they should
have no problems. If one or other is faulty, or if there are gaps,
inconsistencies or anything unclear, it should come to light (yeah, I'm an
Some members of the team are desperate to get their hands on any
documentation, and I only have to arrive at my desk with paper in hand to be
ambushed and interrogated ("What's that? Can I have a copy? Where is it on
the network?"). Strangely enough, if I send out a mail message to say that
there is a new version of a help file available and I would appreciate any
comments on how good/poor/indifferent it is, I hear not a dicky bird.
This time, I'm going for a pre-emptive strike - I shall ask Customer Support
to keep me informed of any reports coming in about my manuals. If anyone's
going to complain, I expect it to be there that the gripes come in.
Gill Rollings, Technical Writer, Internet Systems Ltd
gill -dot- rollings -at- isl -dot- com