Need input

Subject: Need input
From: Sharon Burton-Hardin <sharonburton -at- EMAIL -dot- MSN -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 9 May 1999 10:53:10 -0700

I have a client that in the past has been very good. This project, however
has been hell. No features list, no design doc, no nothing. It is going to
work just like the previous version except it will be different. They were
supposed to go beta in November. They finally went beta in March, after 4
redesigns from Jan to March. They hope to ship full version in 10 days - of
course, they are done with some parts of the program yet, making it a little
tougher to document. Needless to say, the docs are very inaccurate but we -
the other writer and I - are struggling to catch up and get it back on

My questions are the following:
1. They are very unhappy with the cost of the docs at this point and simply
don't want to see that redesigning multiple times and no specs have caused
this. Any input into helping them get this? I have explained and explained
but to no avail.

2. They want the Framemaker chapters, as they are finished, checked into
Source Safe with the ability to print and send out a manual at any time.
Both writers work off site and may not be included in the loop on this
release pattern. The client wants to have the manual ready to PDF at any
moment. I don't seem to be getting across that releasing is going to take a
day to generate/update, etc., before it is in shape for a customer to see -
page numbering, toc, index, chapter numbers all that. Their point of view is
that code can be built at any moment and sent out, if needed. Docs should be
as well. With 2 writer working on separate parts of the same manual, how has
anyone else managed this? Is what they want possible? How do you manage
things like xrefs to other chapters? As far as I can see, even if I get a
copy of the chapters when they are checked in and use those to make my
xrefs, I can't make sure that it is all going to work when I check my parts
in... Am I not seeing something? I keep telling them that one person has to
own the book and we are simply not at the point where this can happen... But
I want them to have what they want...

Sorry about the long winded-ness of this. I am frustrated and pissed off and
ready to walk on this project but they have been a great client in the past
and I hate to do that when I am in pissed off mode. I am also really
exhausted and that also clouds my thinking.


Sharon Burton-Hardin
President of the Inland Empire chapter of the STC
Anthrobytes Consulting
Home of RoboNEWS(tm), the unofficial RoboHELP newsletter
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