Re: Information Mapping

Subject: Re: Information Mapping
From: Erik Rhodes <ErikRhodes -at- PSQLTECH -dot- PLATSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 1996 14:22:00 PDT

A writer in my department responds:
Information Mapping did more than "take good writing techniques, create a
template and style guide, and ask people to pay large amounts of money to
get it." They organized the principles of good writing techniques and
developed a method of applying them that if meticulously followed leads to
well-detailed and easily read documentation. In addition, the principles and
the template must be used in conjunction with one another in order for the
method to really be effective. Alot of people think the format is the main
part of Information Mapping. It isn't. The principles are the key.

The comment "You can be just as unclear,inconsistent, and incorrect using IM
as any other format." is true only if you don't apply the principles/method
from start to finish. This includes starting your draft using the principles
and finishing the draft, after thorough review, by checking that the
principles have been properly applied. Information Mapping is just one
method. There are others that work as well I am sure. The bottom line is
that there be A METHOD that ensures a minimum level of consistency,
accuracy, and completeness throughout all documentation. Writers, like
musicians, artists, athletes, surely must have a method that keeps them on
the right track, focused so that they can produce consistently time after
time. Unlike artists, however, writers should not be individually striving
for uniqueness when they are writing for the same product.

Finally, the comment "There's no substitute for good writing, a
comprehensive style and maintenance guide, thorough reviews, and
consistency." is entirely true regardless of the method being used. But, you
must have proper training on an on-going basis to ensure that you stick with
the basics. As everyone knows, manuals which are revised year after year by
different writers can become choppy, redundant, and lack flow. If all
writers adopt a method for organizing information, determining where it
fits, and how it should be presented, revisions flow more logically and
contain the appropriate level of detail.

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