Followup Report: supervising an extreme novice

Subject: Followup Report: supervising an extreme novice
From: Michele Marques <mmarques -at- USA -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 14:04:25 EDT

Thank you, again, to everyone who offered advice. Although an extreme novice
to the world of technical communications, my assistant is very bright, and I
now have a pretty good help file for a small application. Soon she will be
starting work developping help for a slightly larger application.

To those who are curious, here is how I broke down her tasks and training:
- Read an article about help systems and problems/advice
with them.

- Research the application. I gave her very specific questions to
answer, and follow-up questions based on her initial research.
Basically, she took notes on all aspects of the UI and on procedures.

- Read another article about help systems and different types of help

- Work through the HAT tutorials. (We're using ForeHelp.)

- Develop a help file on a non-computer topic of her choice (she chose
cooking spagetti).

- Initial planning for the help file. She looked over the article again
on different categories of help topics and fit her notes into these
categories. This also helped determine where she needed additional

- Develop the help file. This was very directed. I told her how I would
like the notes divided into various topics, started her with text-
only, edited her work, and requested specific screenshots and a
specific help TOC organization.

For the next project, I will discuss each stage (research, planning,
development) before she proceeds, but am hoping she will not need as much

If you are wondering how small this first application was - it is only for
performing simple inquiries (no user input except to login).

Michele Marques
mmarques -at- usa -dot- net

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