RE: Another ? On Estimating Complex Projects

Subject: RE: Another ? On Estimating Complex Projects
From: "Murrell, Thomas" <TMurrell -at- alldata -dot- net>
Date: Fri, 3 Sep 1999 07:56:10 -0400

Tony Markatos quotes "an old TW saying that : 'A good manual should be so
simple and straight forward that they (management) will wonder what took you
so long.'"

Yes, they will, Tony, but then they always wonder what took so long.

Tony also says, "One attribute of such documentation is a minimum number of
pages." I find that documentation size (volume, page count, complexity) is
usually directly related to the complexity of system use. The harder a
system is to use (the less intuitive it is) the more I have to explain it.
The more I have to explain it, the greater the volume of documentation.

When I'm asked, as we all are at one time or another, "How can we make the
documentation set smaller?" I always answer, "Make the system more
intuitive for all the users."

I usually get a knowing smile and a "Have a nice day." System Engineers,
Architects, Designers, Analysts, Coders, and Testers all seem to know what I
know, but no one seems able or willing to actually revise a system (or
design it) with ease of use in mind. There are always other considerations.

Final Thought: A simple documentation set might not be the one with the
fewest pages. It might be the one that is easiest for users to use and
might actually contain more pages than would, at first glance, seem
necessary. It all comes down to what gets the message across the best to
the target audience. It is hard work, and it also can be very rewarding.

Have a great Labor Day Weekend, those of you celebrating that holiday with

Tom Murrell
Senior Technical Writer, Alliance Data Systems, Inc.
CAD4A - (614)729-4364
Fax: (614)729-4499
mailto:tmurrell -at- alldata -dot- net

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