Re: Tech Writing Problems

Subject: Re: Tech Writing Problems
From: Sue Heim <SUE -at- RIS -dot- RISINC -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 1995 15:08:08 PST

Herman Holtz wanted to know about the most difficult probs tech
writers encounter.

How about:

1. Writing for vapor ware (or products that do not yet exist).

2. Writing for products in which the user interface has not yet
been frozen (and which will not be frozen until it actually
goes into production. This is known as trying to shoot at a
moving target.

3. Lack of formal specifications with which to begin writing.

4. Informal development process whereby changes are implemented
at the developer's whim, and you must rely on the developer to
inform you of the change in time to change the documentation.

5. Expectations that, no matter how much the actual development
schedule slips, you are expected to continue to produce legible
documentation within an unreasonable amount of time AFTER
the product has received a) UI freeze (if ever) and b) the product
has been released to FINAL beta and testing.

6. Expecting writers to work on antiquated, obsolete or just plain
inadequate equipment with inadequate tools while the rest of
the development staff (yes, the programmers) get state-of-the-art
equipment and tools simply by asking.

7. Unreasonable schedules! Unreasonable schedules! ...

Whew!! Need I go on? I think a sore spot was hit there!!

Sue Heim
Research Information Systems
Email: Sue -at- ris -dot- risinc -dot- com

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