Re: Documenting System While Under Developme

Subject: Re: Documenting System While Under Developme
From: Bonni Graham <bonnig -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 16 Apr 1996 14:28:12 -0700

KEG wrote:
<snip story of changing tires on moving vehicle>

>Can someone(s) give me some advice/techniques for how to handle this?
>Detailed advice is much appreciated.

>Sorry if this is a ridiculous question, but I am frustrated!

Not a ridiculous questions at all.

Pick up a copy of "Managing Your Documentation Projects" by Joann Hackos. This
excellent book describes several steps in the doc process you can make while the
UI is still in this degree of flux.

My summary advice is to take the time to structure the manual -- perform task
analysis, for example. Presumably, either you, your developers, or someone else
in the company knows what tasks the users are expecting to be able to accomplish
with this software. Find out what those tasks are, and begin to create a manual
structure around those tasks. When the UI stabilizes, you can plug the
procedural steps into this structure, rather than trying to document something
that's changing this radically.

This is also a good time to find out more about the users -- what will they
already know about the process the software is automating? How much computer
experience can you expect them to have? What types of documentation will they
want to see? How will they use them? All of these things can be answered before
you have a stable UI, even though how you address the answers you discover may
have to wait a little.

To show that you are "producing" something (i.e., documenting "right away"), be
sure to produce carefully written summaries of what you find about the users, and
make your outlines (the ones based on your task analyses) available for review.

Hope this helps!

Bonni Graham
Manual Labour
bonnig -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com

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