Arranging Topics For New Manual

Subject: Arranging Topics For New Manual
From: Debbie Warren <dwarren -at- DTECHS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999 15:25:45 -0600

I appreciate the many responses from my post about letting SMEs arrange the
topic order in a user's guide to avoid reorganizing topics. Some like my
idea, but most recommend having a strong planning phase.

After reading all of the comments, my current method for organizing topics
might be the best one. It was pointed out to me that if I tried out my idea,
reviewers might feel like their opinion wasn't respected when I didn't
organize the manual their way. Also, engineers often look at the product
usage instructions differently from the lay person.

Here's the method:

1. Obtain approval of detailed outline from product manager.
2. Use outline as a guide to group task-oriented topics into chapters.
3. Submit manual to SMEs for review. Usually it's the product manager who
revises the outline. Content is basically left the same.
4. Modify manual.
5. Test the manual.
6. Modify manual.
7. Obtain approval of manual.

I guess I'm trying to write the manual with any revisions. I need to realize
that editing is essential to producing a quality manual. Let's hope.

Debbie Warren
User Documentation Specialist, Digital Techniques, Inc.
Allen, Texas, USA
dwarren -at- dtechs -dot- com

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