Re: Write the User Guide First

Subject: Re: Write the User Guide First
From: George Mena <George -dot- Mena -at- ESSTECH -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 8 May 1998 14:20:47 -0700


The project managers sound like people who didn't want to let *anyone*
look at the master drawing book, even though the drawing book had to
exist in order for the customer to agree to let this particular company
build the thing.

It *did* exist, didn't it??

You haven't said what kind of systems this company spent millions
designing, or for which customers. Knowing that kind of information
would certainly help fill in a few blanks. =D


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Michael Blair [SMTP:mjblair -at- TOTAL -dot- NET]
> Sent: Friday, May 08, 1998 2:01 PM
> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: Write the User Guide First
> I thought I'd just toss this out to see what happens.
> About ten years ago I took a company sponsored human interface design
> course a few years ago from an outfit called the Learning Tree or some
> such thing. They guy giving the course was an ex-NASA type -- who,
> btw,
> had some great war stories about the early days of the space program.
> One
> of the first things he told his audience, exactly one of whom was a
> technical writer, was that when designing a system that humans will
> use,
> write the user guide first.
> It made sense to me (as the sole tech writer), nor did it seem to be a
> particularly radical idea, but the project managers, analysts and
> programmers also taking the course were scandalized. How could you
> write
> the user guide before you built the system?
> I should point out that this paritcular company spent millions of
> dollars
> designing systems without bothering to consult users.
> Michael Blair
> ======================================================================
> =
> Blair Technical Communications Tel: (514)
> 989-8713
> 106 - 3500 Atwater Avenue Fax: (514)
> 989-7521
> Montreal, Quebec CANADA H3H 1Y5 Email:
> mjblair -at- total -dot- net
> &^~~~
> Send commands to listserv -at- listserv -dot- okstate -dot- edu (e.g., SIGNOFF

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