Estimating Quality Documentation?

Subject: Estimating Quality Documentation?
From: "Anthony Markatos" <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: etymes -at- lts -dot- com, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1999 12:54:28 PDT

Elna Tymes said:

It's (estimating) a little like planning a trip: you know where you're going, and you know the route to get there, but there may be delays due to construction or car problems or other unforeseen incidents. You plan ahead as best you can and be flexible enough
to deal with the unexpected. And page counts are about the reasonably useful measure of a writer's productivity, going in.

Tony Markatos responds:

For one of the projects for which I am most proud of, I averaged about one page every three days. This was a highly end user focused software requirements spec for a complex business system. In order to tie the pages of text together, I had to create data flow diagrams, entity relationship diagrams, and major parts of a data dictionary (this is where a major part of my time went).

Estimating was very difficult; it was not until I was well into the analysis effort (which took about 6 months in total) that I knew the system well enough that I could "chunk" it down into logical equal-sized parts (the major prerequisite for estimating such projects.)

For one of the projects for which I am least proud of, I averaged about six pages per day. It was a real "End User? What's an End User?" type of project. (No moral judgements please; on this one, I was only following management's directives.) Estimating was easy; I did about six pages on Monday, and (baring any unforeseen obstacles) I knew that I was going to do about six pages on Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.

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

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