Re: Department Documentation

Subject: Re: Department Documentation
From: "Brathwaite, Chantel" <cbrathwaite -at- python -dot- ideas -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L, a list for all technical communication issues" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 18:01:49 -0400


(Sorry if you get this more than once Kevin -- my post was rejected.)

I'm not sure whether you will be preparing documentation for government or
non-government clients, but in the places I've worked, the customer has
either furnished a standard, or we've furnished our own. When we've
furnished our own standard, we've used MIL-STD-498 and tailored it to the
project. Although it is now obsolete (replaced by IEEE 12207), it provides
a (somewhat) exhaustive list of the different types of documentation and an
outline of what should appear in each document. Be warned that sometimes
the descriptions can be very detailed and yet strangely vague -- but if you
need something to start with, I'd highly recommend at looking at it. If
nothing else, it is a good starting place ... you'll have a great laundry
list of what should (and should not) be in different types of manuals. It
also helps you when gathering information and in guiding your questions
(especially things you might not think about -- like if there are
security/privacy controls or whether the software operates in different
modes). A copy of it (along with other standards) appears on the Abelia
corporation website That
website also has a comparison of MIL-STD-498 and IEEE 12207. You can get
the IEEE standard at their website (I don't know the IEEE website address --
probably I think it is offered at cost, but I don't think it
is too expensive. Some high-level process stuff is available in the IEEE
manual as well. Between the recommendations you've already received and the
other standards, you should have a good grasp of the documentation that a
tech. pubs. department should be able to offer the customer.

All the best,

Chantel Brathwaite
Chantel -dot- N -dot- Brathwaite -at- saic -dot- com

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