Re: Documents Before Products

Subject: Re: Documents Before Products
From: Gurudutt Kamath/Technical Writing Centre <guruk -at- GIASBM01 -dot- VSNL -dot- NET -dot- IN>
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 22:42:53 +0530

Hello there!

In India, I am famous for this: my manual is ready before the product is
ready! I do not wait for the product to be ready and go ahead with
whatever is available.

Once we did not have the product ready, so we gave the documentation to
give confidence to the user that the product was being developed.

In one product for which I wrote a user manual for an Indian Company in
America, I did the same technique. One particular function was
simultaneously being developed and documented. Poor me did not understand
what the programmer had said. I wrote with a little bit of imagination.
To my surprise the director talked to me a few days later and said that
they had decided to follow the user interface which I had described. This
project was one of the best I did. I gave the guys fifty suggestions (an
exaggeration obviously) and these guys carried out fifty one of them. In
addition to this, I received an invite to come and do further
documentation in USA. However, I was not sure whether Uncle Sam (or Aunty
Samantha) would grant me a visa, so I backed out.

In yet another paper flow project they accepted each and every suggestion
that I gave them. Coming to think of it at my recent seminar a tech
writer asked whether we should be charging clients for giving suggestions
on user interface, etc. I replied with a grin!

Greetngs from a nda! (2 many eyes n ths message!)


guruk -at- giasbm01 -dot- vsnl -dot- net -dot- in
Technical Writing Centre, Mumbai (Bombay)
"The difficult we do immediately. The impossible takes a little longer
time." ...and a technical writer.

On Thu, 13 Mar 1997, Sharon Rosenthal wrote:

> Last summer, I waited for software to come my way to no avail. Finally, I
> just had to write something. When I told my husband that I had to write
> the training guide before the end of the month, he asked how I would do it.
> I replied, "I'm going to make it up." And I did.
> I used technical specifications (that I didn't quite understand) and some
> help from development folks who thought that the software would eventually
> work that way. In the end, I was close, but there was lots that was wrong.
> Fortunately, I convinced engineering to give me software before the final
> review.

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