The user guide prescribes the program

Subject: The user guide prescribes the program
From: joe rapp <joe-rapp -at- JUNO -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 1997 15:03:18 EST

Can someone provide a reference that supports the following
view?

An experienced engineer/manager at NYNEX told me that
he believes that "The documentation IS the program." This
means that, for example, on a $60 million software project, they
FIRST wrote the user guide and designed the screens. Then
the users tested the guide for usefulness, clarity, etc. This
first phase took a year and a half. AFTER this was done, the
programmers were told to write the code -- which they did in
two weeks.

This engineer told me it is standard thinking that the
computer program IS the user guide, while the code is just
the code. If the program "doesn't work" properly, then
changes are made to the code -- not vice versa.

Since this view of documentation makes the tech writer's job
more central, more important, and more valuable, I would like
to see where this view is supported in the literature of
computer program development and/or user guide
development.

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