online help estimates

Subject: online help estimates
From: Stephanie Holland <SLHOLLAND -at- MICRONPC -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999 17:31:24 -0700

Hi --

I'm using "Managing Your Documentation Projects" by JoAnn Hackos to provide a high-level time estimate for an online help project.

In her book, Hackos says to multiply the projected hours it will take to complete each page in a manual by the number of estimated pages the manual will have. This will give the number of hours needed to complete the manual.

However, I'm managing an online help project for an application that hasn't been prototyped yet. The project manager for this application is basing her time estimate on the number of forms, modules and reports the application will have. For example, she estimates that her programmers will need 15 days to create each form (this includes analysis through test).

My problem is that one form might have two tasks associated with it, while another form might have 10. So, I need to determine an average I can work with.

I don't feel comfortable basing my estimate on the number of forms in the application because our online help is task-based, not form-based. Should I base my estimate on the number of forms in the application, or is there another formula I should use? Does anyone have any experience with what I describe?

Thanks in advance.

Stephanie Holland
Technical Communication Manager
Information Technology Department
Micron Electronics (Nampa, Idaho)
mailto:slholland -at- micronpc -dot- com

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