FW: online help estimates

Subject: FW: online help estimates
From: Rebecca Merck <Rebecca -dot- Merck -at- ONESOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999 19:46:43 -0500

Stephanie --

I hit a similar problem one time, and don't recall exactly how I
bludgeoned my way through it, except that it took a lot of my evenings
and weekends for a while.

My suggestion now would be to try to start with a list of the
functionality, not the number of forms. Since your help files will be
based on the tasks, probably closely (or in some discernable way) tied
to the number of functions, you'll be able to estimate the number of
task-topics you'll need to develop. Be sure to build in time for
setting up cross-links, indexing, etc. -- overhead associated with
creating the help file, not in the individual task-topics.

Hope that's helpful!?

-Rebecca Merck

-----Original Message-----
From: Stephanie Holland [mailto:SLHOLLAND -at- MICRONPC -dot- COM]
Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 1999 7:31 PM
Subject: online help estimates

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

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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