Re: WinHelp structure comes first?

Subject: Re: WinHelp structure comes first?
From: Win Day <winday -at- IDIRECT -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 1996 09:52:35 -0500

At 02:53 PM 1/5/96 EST, Tim Altom wrote extensively about the pros and cons
of planning WinHelp projects. He believes planning is important, even
though he states writers would generally prefer to begin writing immediately.

I can't speak specifically about WinHelp projects, having never done one.
But I'm a firm believer in planning EVERY project, in as much detail as
possible, and in updating the plan as often as necessary.

I'm a freelancer with several clients. Planning each project enables me to
give my clients solid cost estimates and schedules. As projects develop and
change (which they always do!), I can easily revise the estimates and
schedules because they were based on solid planning to begin with.

Careful planning also allows me to budget my time between multiple clients
and multiple projects. How else could I manage my efforts?

I can't control much on my clients' end of things. So sometimes schedules
slip because their review cycles take more time than we originally allotted.
But once I know about the slips, I can work them into my plans, and switch
to another project if necessary.

Planning may not be most writers' favourite task. But it is vital to every
project, especially larger ones. Careful planning BEFORE you start writing
will reduce the revision cycle, as you'll catch problems with structure and
organization early. The earlier problems are found and corrected, the less
they cost.

I highly recommend Hackos's book _Managing Your Documentation Projects_.
She explores the topic of early planning thoroughly.

Win
------------
Win Day
Technical Writer/Editor
Email: winday -at- idirect -dot- com


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