Documentation Process

Subject: Documentation Process
From: "Josee C. Morel" <jcmorel -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 22:41:47 GMT


This is my first time writing to you all as a group. I turn to you all for some assistance with a restructuring issue at work. I work in France for a French software firm with two French technical writers. I am the only one working on the English version of the documentation. Recent market changes have pushed management to ask us to stop producing doc in French and work together to produce the doc in English.

His first proposal was to have my co-workers write directly in English. I would be responsible for proof-reading this work. Since they are not native speakers, my work would be doing a lot of rewriting in addition to my regular work. Yuck! This is not a time or cost efficient solution.

When I told my boss how I felt, I also suggested he let me have a chance to think about the process involved in producing documentation. I told him I would get back to him with a plan that took into account our talents and resources.

Yes, I am getting to my point. Could you help me break down the process involved in producing documentation?

* Researching
* Audience profiling
* Task Analysis
* Creating a documentation plan
* Writing alpha draft
* Writing beta draft
* Indexing for beta
* Adding screen shots
* Writing final draft
* Putting online (we don?t offer HELP but produce online doc in HTML)

I am a very junior tech writer. Any and all help would be GREATLY appreciated. I do not want to leave any phases out. I would also like to see some of your time estimates (in percentages) for each of these phases Different phases do not depend on good writing skills.

If you reply to me personally, I would be happy to post a summary.

Thanks in advance.


Josée Christine Morel
Technical Writer
Paris - France

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