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Rod Hester asked whether anyone has worked out how to assess the output of a
writer. Based on my experience of the last couple of years, I'd be
surprised if you could factor in all the events which divert the writer's
attention or delay his or her progress and come up with some kind of formula
against which to measure progress.
In my case, the list of deliverables has changed once or twice, and even
after I'd started writing material the structure of some of the manuals
changed (sometimes at my instigation, sometimes based on the suggestions of
others). Some of the products being described mutated almost out of all
recognition. Then there are the calls from colleagues asking how to do
various exotic tasks in Word for Windows (yes, I know, I should tell them to
read the help or the manual - support your own professional kind, right? -
it's just quicker to talk it through with them and sometimes I learn
something new, too). Oh, and programs crashing, network connections
severing their own throats -- well, let's just say that manual A is 60%
complete, manual B is 80% complete and manual C only has a set of headings
because I can't sit with the programmers to sort it out because they're too
busy writing code. Now watch the delivery date loom up on us and see who's
in the office till midnight most of the week before...
Sorry, did you say you wanted the stuff reviewed as well?
Gill Rollings, Technical Writer, Internet Systems Ltd
gill -dot- rollings -at- isl -dot- com