Using FrameMaker to Mothball

Subject: Using FrameMaker to Mothball
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- AXIONET -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 1998 19:19:09 -0800

I had a call from my sub-contractor at my second job-site today.

She had been asked to print off a manual done by the writer who was at
the company before me. When she looked in the directory, she found a
mess. Not only had the previous writer not used a book file, but there
is strong evidence that at least some of the work was done in Word, then
pasted or converted to FrameMaker. There was only a very confusing
Readme file to help her make sense of the structure - and she had to
print ASAP.

Like most contractors, I've mothballed several projects. I've always
tried to leave my work as finished as possible, and to include readme
files about directory structures and any quirks in the work, so that any
other writer could quickly pick up where I left out. This behavior seems
to me the professional and ethical thing to do.

However, discussing this incident got me thinking about the whole
process. I'd like to ask the lists:

--do list members agree that an orderly mothballing is a professional
and ethical imperative?

--what steps do list members think that mothballing should involve? What
do people think should be involved in a complete mothballing process?

--does anyone make any special use of FrameMaker features to aid
mothballing?

As I write, it strikes me that this is a part of project management that
is rarely, if ever, talked about among techwriters, or in seminars and
classes. Yet it is an inevitable part of any contract job (and of any
full-time one, if you stay there long enough or leave).

I'll summarize any responses in a week or so.
---
Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
(604) 421-7189 or 687-2133 x. 269
bbyfield -at- axionet or bruce -at- dataphile-ca -dot- com
www.outlawcommunications.com

"My younger ghost is laughing,
He kissed you against the wall,
I think he looked a lot like me,
Would you know him now at all?"
- Oyster Band




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