Re: JAD sessions

Subject: Re: JAD sessions
From: Beth Friedman <bjf -at- WAVEFRONT -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 9 Apr 1998 13:24:36 -0500

In our previous episode, Gina Hertel said:
> Have any technical communicators ever been asked to participate in a JAD
> session?
> I was recently asked to do so, and I'm wondering what to expect. So, what
> should I anticipate? How can I avoid being a stenographer for a bunch of
> developers? What kind of contribution might I make? What can I expect to
> get out of this in terms of future documentation I'll have to prepare?

I participated in JAD sessions for about a year. (The project was
terminated without being completed, but it wasn't the fault of the JAD

The way to avoid being stenographer is to make sure someone else is --
the process requires a recorder. We had long-term temps as recorders.

My main contributions were in the area of consistency -- making sure
the screens worked much the same way from one to another, and that
consistent abbreviations were used. Because I was one of the few
people who attended all the sessions (most company employees only
attended the ones relevant to their area), I got good overall feel for
the software, the company's business processes, and the eventual look
and feel of the interface. (This was for a product that was bought
without anything resembling a working model -- or even a working
demonstration -- so we were all fumbling at first for how it would

Documenting the screens was much easier, having attended the JAD, than
it would have been just being given a printout of the final screen

I was also brought in on several related sub-projects because I was
one of the few people with a good overall feel for the entire project.

I would have had a much more difficult time doing documentation if I
hadn't attended the JAD sessions.

Beth Friedman bjf -at- wavefront -dot- com
"If I ran England like they run that kitchen
You'd half expect somebody to usurp it
I am the King now, and I want a sandwich.
I wonder where my brother Richard is." -- John M. Ford

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