Re: What do we need before passing GO...

Subject: Re: What do we need before passing GO...
From: "John P. Brinegar" <johnbri -at- PRIMENET -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 7 Dec 1995 14:54:26 -0700


It sounds as if your information sources are going to wait until everything
you need is in place, and then switch on the documentation effort. It would
be far better for you to get involved early in the development process,
even if there is very little for you to work with. This would help you and
the info sources to more accurately identify what you really do need, as
you go along, and would provide opportunities for you to represent the
users, as the human interface is developed.

>HELP!! SOS!! I would like to attend this meeting with some specifics on what
>other companies require their engineering departments to provide, prior to the
>tech writer starting the documentation. Any information would be greatly

Here are some suggestions for what is typically required (but not
necessarily before any documentation work can start):

-Product requirements--What user needs are to be met with this product?

-Design specification(s)--How is this product to be designed to meet the
user needs?

-Directions for accomplishing any user procedures needed to use or to
support this product.

-A copy of any software in this product and a machine to run it on (this
should be available to the tech communicators full time).

-Copies of any mechanical drawings, hardware specifications, electrical
specifications, and schematics.

-Lists of and specifications for any replaceable parts in this product.

-Copies of well-commented listings for any software in this product.

-A commitment by the developers and product support functions to do timely
technical reviews of the tech communicators' output.

-A commitment by the developers to provide timely updates to any of the
above as the product design changes through the period of development,
testing, and the product life-cycle.

John P. Brinegar,
Consulting and development
-Performance support systems
-Technical communications

Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.
(602) 278-7398
johnbri -at- primenet -dot- com

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