Re: Beta testing documentation

Subject: Re: Beta testing documentation
From: Earl Morton <WorkgWords -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 1997 02:44:18 -0500

In a message dated 97-01-06 22:06:34 EST, Marlene J. Geary writes:

Question - Is there anyone out there who issues "beta" documentation to
customers who are "beta-testing" software?
I have a client that always tries to do at least a few beta releases with the
docs (online and printed). Since the documentation is typically written when
the software is nearing release, last-minute changes in the software are
often not included in the beta docs.

1) Do you ever hear feedback on the beta docs from these beta customers?
Some beta testers are pretty good. This client is pretty relaxed in its beta
testing, and leaves it to the testers to report whatever they want. There is
usually a list of general areas of the program that need testing, but not
strict controls. I don't know how many of the testers really pay attention to
the docs, much less go through them in an organized and thorough manner. One
or two have clearly worked at it and found some important things, but they
are the exception.

Actually - do the people and companies that sub to this list get a lot of
feedback regarding the manuals produced by their respective departments?
I often get little feedback even from the client, let alone the beta testers.
They pretty much leave the docs up to my discretion, without saying much
unless I ask for input on specific areas.

I did one project for another client with a disturbing habit of not reading
review drafts, and just OKing them. Two or three reviews later he'd see some
glaring issue and come all unglued, even though he'd already OK'd the text
more than once.

Does anyone here survey their customers on the documentation they produce?
I wish they would, but that's up to the client. Maybe I'll talk to them about

Earl Morton
WorkgWords -at- aol -dot- com

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