Re: Documenting A Moving Target

Subject: Re: Documenting A Moving Target
From: Dan Glovier <dan -at- COYOTE -dot- TSH -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 1996 16:48:06 -0600

The Gods overheard Karen Gwynn/Datatel state:

<moving target explanation snipped>

>HELP! What do other people do? Do other software companies build in time at the
>end of the development cycle for doc to catch up? Whose responsibility is it to
>notify doc of all these changes as they occur (that's the other thing; I
>happened to find this item, no one told me of the change).

Karen,

In my company (please excuse the Yakov Smirnoff impersonation) last year we had
to re-write our entire system. That's 10 manuals in all. Two tech writers.
Funsies! Some portions are still not done, but we're caught up to the software. :)

The only way we had a chance to get this done was the "document as we work"
approach. We were adding a revision control feature to our software, so
any change had to be "checked in" with The Keeper of Changes. Thankfully,
this person was nice enough to forward any and all changes (via e-mail)
to us. I made an e-mail folder for each module of our system, kept these
e-mails in the appropriate folders, and this way I didn't miss any changes.

The key was that the development team knew that the software wasn't finished
until the documentation was completed. This way, we fell under their time frame.
It was in their best interest to keep us as well informed as possible, as well
as assisting us when necessary.

There wasn't too much catch up time at the end, but then again we were
re-writing and not creating from scratch.

-Dan Glovier
dglovier -at- tsh -dot- com


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