RE: Estimating Complex Projects?

Subject: RE: Estimating Complex Projects?
From: "Murrell, Thomas" <TMurrell -at- alldata -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>, "'Anthony Markatos'" <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 3 Sep 1999 08:04:49 -0400

> ----------
> From: Anthony Markatos[SMTP:tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com]
> Reply To: Anthony Markatos
> Sent: Thursday, September 02, 1999 4:35 PM
> Subject: Estimating Complex Projects?
> Question for all listerv members:
> How do you estimate a documentation project for a complex software system?
> I have read estimating "rules-of thumb" of a couple of pages per day.
> However, that still leaves the following questions:
My first "rule-of-thumb" for estimating a documentation project is that it
will cost 20% of the development budget. It's amazing how accurate that
turns out to be.

> 1.) How do you know how many pages will be required?
> 2.) Isn't there a significant up-front analysis phase BEFORE any pages
> are
> created? (Isn't the common rap against programmers about prematurely
> jumping into implementation just as appropriate to Technical Writers?)
My second rule-of-thumb is that I can't do more than 10 pages per day of
finished product. For every project I've been able to look back on, I find
that is probably a bit optimistic, particularly when doing "new"
documentation. That is, if I'm starting from the beginning I average maybe
7 pages per day when all is said and done.

> All responses appreciated.
Of course, most of the time I'm given a due date and a set of deliverables
that don't fit either of my rules-of-thumb. Then I do as everyone else
does...the best I can in the time allotted.

> Tony Markatos
> (tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com)
> 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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