Re: Documentation Plan

Subject: Re: Documentation Plan
From: Anne Halsey <AHalsey -at- SYSTEMONE -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 1996 12:17:00 -0600

Misti recently asked what belongs in a document

What I recommend is doing a mental review
of every doc project you've been involved with, focusing
on those things which caused you mental or physical
pain, caused delays in deliverables, added expense,
or generally made your life hell. Then write your doc
plan to anticipate and minimize the impact of the
various evilnesses.

I typically include the following:

*A brief, accurate description of the product to be

*A brief description, including intended audience, of
each document to be developed. Include a priority
for development.

*For each document, identification of the following major
players: document author
blessor of content outline
TA reviewers

*Specification of the tool(s) used to develop the documentation.

*Specification of how reviews are conducted (on paper, electronically),
and the amount of time reviewers will be allowed (three working
days for 1-50 pages, five working days for 51-100 pages ...).
Also include the "rules" surrounding reviews; some companies,
for example, will accept non-response as tacit approval; others

*A document development timeline, tied to product development

*A contract (yes, CONTRACT) to be signed by the major players
which supplies deliverables and receivables. This contract
should detail what you need to be supplied with (product
specs, test plans, access to alpha and beta product, yada-yada)
and at what intervals (access to alpha software and test bed
30 working days before first draft deliverable). It should then
specify your output (alpha doc, beta doc, yada-yada).

I'm sure there are other things that can be included, but I
feel these are the basics.

Good luck - and don't fear a doc plan. It could end up being
your best friend.

Anne Halsey
ahalsey -at- systemone -dot- net

From: Misti Tucker
Subject: Documentation Plan
Date: Wednesday, October 16, 1996 10:30AM

I'm embarking on a 112 hour documentation project that entails a
creature >h>h>h document type I've never had to produce before: a
documentation plan.

I have some ideas, but in the interest of doing my best, if you could
share some of your thoughts on what belongs in a document plan, I'd
appreciate it. Thanks.
Misti Tucker

Technical Consultant/ Communication Specialist
Software Services Corporation
Ann Arbor, Michigan (800)
My opinions do not in any way represent those of my employer.

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