RE: estimating page count for SW user guide

Subject: RE: estimating page count for SW user guide
From: Debbie Pesach <debbie_pesach -at- attune-networks -dot- com>
To: "'Fabien Vais'" <phantoms -at- pop -dot- total -dot- net>, "'Techwr-l'" <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 10:11:02 +0200

Fabien and fellow Whirlers,

I would combine WAY #2 and WAY #3. JoAnn Hackos also recommends using an
algorithm based on variables such as the ones you mention, called
"dependencies." I have created such a factor (the sum of the
dependencies is multiplied by the estimated page/hr rate needed to get
to a revised page/hr rate). I think it is helpful, because variables
such as SME willingness to review content, knowledge of a particular
tool, and availability of a accurate prototype definitely influence the

To me this method seems useful (when I compare what I predicted and what
actually happens after the project is completed, I'll let you know if it
was also accurate!). I don't feel flustered by figuring these issues, or
figuring out what tasks I need to include in the project. I am fortunate
to work with a very cooperative team and a good prototype. I have
already created a very specific list of tasks, based on both the system
interface (features) and the functionality.

What gets me is knowing how to estimate the final page count (9X7
printed book with 11-point TNR text). Creating a mockup of a sample
procedure seems too artificial to estimate "average" page per task. I
know that this will only be an estimate and that I'll be much, much
wiser after the project is finished and I have some specific experience
with our product. However, I do need to at least estimate how many pages
in order to get an idea about how much time I need so that I can
allocate proper resources in order to have the book finished by

Let me also mention that I am a full-time "slave" here. I am a new
manager and previous SW User Guides that I've produced were quite
different from what I need to do here. Maybe those of you in the
contract business could share some insight into how you estimate a new
(original) project when the company doesn't give you a guide line for
final page count.

Thanks for all your help.


-----snipped Original Message-----
To my knowledge, there are four ways to estimate the number of
pages that a
document will be:

WAY #1 - The magic wand
WAY #2 - The algorythm
WAY #3 - The Hackos method
WAY #4 - Experience

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