We need a specialized doc set- advice?

Subject: We need a specialized doc set- advice?
From: jblair -at- CREO -dot- BC -dot- CA
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 1996 15:53:40 PST

Hi everyone,

I need suggestions on how my documentation group can adapt our
documentation to our company's new way of marketing our products. I
think this dilemma must be increasingly common, with the new focus on
open platforms, etc. It goes something like this:

We sell Products A,B,C,D,E,F, and G, H, and I. We used to sell
products A-D as a bundled package, and E often went with it. F-I have
always been sold separately and used with other products, many of
which are not ours. Right now we have manuals which group information
on the products the way they are usually sold. Each manual explains
how the various products interact with one another.

Now, the company is starting to go modular; i.e., everything will be
sold separately as well as in bundles. We need to come up with
formatting, organizing, and binding options for the manuals based on
the future 'modularity' of our products.

Unfortunately, this is not as simple as writing smaller manuals for
each product and issuing and bundling them at the time of sale.
Because of the interdependence of the products, there needs to be
information on how the products will be used with other products. For
example, B could be sold with A-E, but it could also be sold by
itself, and the user might want to use it with *any* of our other
products, or with other companies' products.

We've been thinking about PDF as a way of quickly customizing docs,
but this hasn't developed beyond the speculative stage.

I appeal to the collective expertise of the TECHWR-L people. Please
fire some good ideas at me.

Thanks a lot!


jblair -at- creo -dot- bc -dot- ca
Jennifer Blair, Technical Writer
Documentation Group
Creo Products, Inc.
(604) 451-2700

I speak for myself, not for my employer.

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