Re: flowcharts and technical writers

Subject: Re: flowcharts and technical writers
From: "Amy E. Brown" <abrown -at- OPENMARKET -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 5 Feb 1998 10:05:55 -0500

Subject: Flow Charting and Technical Writers
  Date: Tue, 3 Feb 1998 14:54:35 PST
  From: Anthony Markatos 

  Question to all software Technical Writers:

  Do software technical writers often have to flow chart the system they
  are creating documentation on?
Right now I'm documenting a complex process.  If I don't include a flowchart in my documentation, my users will be at sea, considering that I'm in the uncomfortable position of addressing two different user groups (with different tasks) at once.  No such flow chart came to me from the developers -- I'll have to make it myself.
I would ordinarily assume that any flow
  chart (i.e., logical flow chart, data flow diagram, etc.) would be
  created by developers and systems analysts and then given to the
  technical writer.  However, I have always had to create these myself.
  Existing flow charts were either non-existent or unusable.
a scary thought, given that products are often designed from the developers' flowcharts...
  I have read numerous books on technical writing and none has even
  mentioned flow charting as a TW task.  Yet this is often one of the most
  important things that I have to do.
I think you can expect to keep doing it, too.  It would be nice if you could start doing these flowcharts as part of the product development process, rather than after the flow is locked into code.  It would help to guarantee a usable product AND help to make you an indispensable part of product planning.  However, as most of us writers know, this is a Platonic ideal.  ;-)
  I seek answers to the above for career planning reasons.
Good luck!

By the bye, I use Visio Professional for flowcharting.

Amy Brown
abrown -at- openmarket -dot- com

Don't blame Open Market for anything I say!

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