estimating page count for SW user guide

Subject: estimating page count for SW user guide
From: Debbie Pesach <debbie_pesach -at- attune-networks -dot- com>
To: "'Techwr-l'" <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 15:33:06 +0200

Here's what I hope is a good question, with--unfortunately--no
definitive answer (Why go easy on the list gurus? It's still the
beginning of the week, energy levels should be high): How do you
estimate the page count for a new printed software User Guide (that
isn't based on any existing documentation)? I'm looking for some ways to
estimate my project. Note that I've checked in the archives and most
threads discuss the "hours/page" issue. I am interested in learning how
you know how many pages you need in the first place. I'll throw out two

One method is to look at the competition's similar books and assume an
average. This won't work for me because, not to mention page size and
font/stylistic issues, we don't have anything that is really like our
product available.

Another method comes from JoAnn Hackos' book "Managing your
Documentation Projects," (I am an ardent fan). She recommends breaking
out the various tasks that will be documented and then deciding on their
relative level of difficulty. Then you are supposed to create a
thumbnail sketch of a sample chapter section to determine an average
page count needed for an "average" task. Multiply this by the average
number of tasks, add in other content (TOC, index, front matter, etc.)
and you have a general book estimate. However, I don't find her method
easy for me and am looking for other ideas.

Debbie Pesach
Technical Publications Team Leader
debbie_pesach -at- attune-networks -dot- com
Tel: 972-4-9594333 Ext. 227
Fax: 972-4-9594332

Attune Networks Ltd.
P.O. Box 305
Yokneam Illit 20692

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