Re: The project that would not end!

Subject: Re: The project that would not end!
From: Robert Heath <robert -dot- heath -at- FRITZ -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 20 May 1999 07:48:12 -0700

Geoff wrote:
Having written all this, it occurs to me to wonder just why it is
the manual isn't ready after two years. Don't the developers
have a tentative ship date yet? (If so, that probably defines
what you're going to have to do much better than whether the
manual is "good enough".) Or are you living in techwhirler
paradise, and they're waiting for you to finish the manual so
they can make the software match the manual?

The system is already in operation. I do not know how long people have been
using it without a manual (I started at this company on Feb. 1 this year and
have learned of the system only in the last few weeks), but they currently
are. They do, however, hunger for the manual.

It seems the timeline for producing manuals runs in reverse here. We install
our systems first, and write the documentation well after. For another
example, a system that is still being developed has been put into production
in most of Europe and the U.K., yet the user manul has yet to be written (I
will eventually be in charge of that task, after the project that would not
die skulks away!). I did write a setup guide for the system's U.K. roll out,
but that is all. There is also another system that has been in place for at
least a year and I am to finish up the manual for that (after coming in to
the project with it 85% complete) while completing the manual that began
this thread and the one for the other system. Aye-yie-yie!

Believe it or not, however, my immediate boss is very easygoing and never
cracks the whip. He knows the situation well enough and shakes his head,

As for the suggestions of others who have replied to my original post, they
are all perfectly valid and I'll certainly add them to my arsenal of
strategies for future projects. At this point, though, I have to agree with
Bob, who wrote: "Get that turkey out!"

Robert Heath
Technical Writer
Fritz Companies, Inc.
San Francisco, CA

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