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A>> At what point in the fabled software lifecycle do most of you
A>> beginning creating documentation?
A>All of us who have been there (and we are legion) empathize
A>with your situation. However, I believe it is absolutely
A>vital that pubs folk be part of the initial design team,
A>and have their hands on the product from the word go.
I agree with you - and for hardware as well as software. Tech writers
have a different perspective on the labeling of buttons, keys, circuit
boards, and other components - we've got to explain that the Whatzit
button and the Whatzit terminal have nothing to do with one another!
Hardware is even harder to change in the alpha stage than software,
especially if the company has already paid tooling and silkscreen
A>Of course, there are disadvantages. Probably the biggest disadvantage
A>is that you increase your level of rework.
Yes and no. I've found that you can get manuals roughed out so you get a
feel for what points are going to be a problem, then set them aside
until the project is further along. If you try to change the
documentation as each permutation comes out, you will find yourself
reworking things over and over. But if you can just keep track of things
enough to be the alpha testers and give input, without doing a rework a
week, you can provide valuable input without completely burning yourself
out on a project.
BTW, good post, Anne - you really hit the nail on the head.
* CMPQwk 1.4 #9107 * MilliHelen: Amount of beauty needed to launch one ship.