Re: Need input

Subject: Re: Need input
From: Tom Brophy <tom -at- TCRAFT -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 9 May 1999 21:57:25 +0100

Hi Sharon,

I run into this kind of scenario all the time in localization :-(

> 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.

I've found Steve McConnell's book - Rapid Development (ISBN 1-55615-900-5) - very useful when dealing with this type of client. It will give you several possible approaches you can try out ...

> 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.

They're not quite comparing like with like! A chapter of a book is not a standalone deliverable in the same way that a single exe/dll might be. The correct analogy is book to exe/dll. To put their requirement in software terms, they're asking you to check in individual c/cpp files for an exe/dll, expecting to be able to build an exe/dll, and (?) expecting it to do something useful. It's unlikely to happen.

> 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...

Agreed. The problem is the granularity of the required deliverable.

> 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...

Sometimes, you've got to disappoint/re-educate a client. It seems self-evident that your client doesn't have a very sophisticated development methodology - if any. Even at this late stage, they seemingly still believe that they don't have the time to do the job properly, but do have the time to make a balls of it, and then presumably fix it, several times over!

Throw the book (see above) at them!


// Tom Brophy, Email: tom -at- tcraft -dot- com
// Translation Craft, 19A Main Street, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland
// Phone:+353 1 2836336; Mobile:+353 86 8295856; Fax:+353 1 2783572

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