I belong to several message - interest groups and I am used to hearing people 
give their opinions in a bombastic manner. So its no
big deal to see that happening here. But if this discussion is to have any real 
value it will be to share our perspectives with
others and learn something about points of view's entirely different than our 
own, which requires some tolerance and mutual respect.


My view and experience is that it definitely helps to get the TW involved early 
on, but it?s a waste of time for them to sit all the
way through each meeting, and for the entire duration of each meeting.

Marketing requirements documents and engineering specification documents, if 
they are adequately written will help the TW formulate
the user documentation at a fairly early stage, but the bulk of the 
documentation effort comes towards the end of the development
cycle. And ideally the writer of the user guide if that is they type of 
documentation we are discussing now, should be a
knowledgeable user with some fresh insights into the learning curve the novice 
user will face, and some empathy for that new user.

Ignoring the need for documentation, putting it off until the last moment is a 
formula for poor quality documentation.

- In my humble opinion.

Have a great work week!

Leslie


-----Original Message-----
From: framers-bounces+lhs_emf=pacbell.net at lists.frameusers.com 
[mailto:framers-bounces+lhs_emf=pacbell....@lists.frameusers.com] On
Behalf Of Technical Writer
Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2007 5:47 PM
To: bhechter at objectives.ca; framers at lists.frameusers.com
Subject: RE: radical revamping of techpubs


Well, a difference of opinion is what makes a horse race. Iterative software 
methods do not require iterative documentation methods;
in most cases, documentation before the last iteration is considered both 
wasteful and useless. While I have a great deal of respect
for Steve McConnell, proposing early draft user guides as a replacement for 
requirement specs is a bit off the road. 

If you develop software, and intend to use early draft user guides instead of 
requirements, you are going to be greeting the folks
at Wal-Mart rather than trying to pull back a contract or two from Bangalore. 
The statement is at odds with most developers' (and
most business analysts') understanding of "requirements." Putting an occasional 
"agile" into a sentence doesn't make the process any
more reasonable. 

I didn't invent the idea of ignoring documentation until the final product is 
ready (or almost ready) to ship. Far more intelligent,
competent, and capable people than me have decided that "involving TWs from the 
early stages of development" is only useful when the
end product is carved in stone before the first line of code is written. That, 
for better of worse, is rarely the case.

Lastly, given that about a third of all software projects, agile or otherwise, 
fail so badly they are abandoned, if you ignore
documentation completely, you have a one in three chance of coming out ahead 
when the project flops because you have at least saved
the cost of documentation.
http://www.tekwrytrs.com/Specializing in the Design, Development, and 
Production of:Technical Documentation - Online Content -
Enterprise Websites


Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2007 12:21:17 -0700From: bhechter at yahoo.comSubject: re: 
radical revamping of techpubsTo: tekwrytr at hotmail.comCC:
framers at lists.frameusers.comSorry, but I find the thread both:a) Off-topicb) 
Misleading. Iterative sofware methods require iterative
documentation methods, but by no means do they eliminate the parallel need for 
early draft user manuals. In fact, Steve McConnell
(Code Complete) proposes early draft user guides as an agile replacement for 
requirements specs.Ben> Because the application itself
is built in an iterative process, rather than > being carved in stone, reacting 
to feedback from the client, documentation > before
the last minute is pointless.  The reason should be obvious; the > application 
being documented in the early stages bears little
resemblance > to the application delivered. Ben Hechter Vancouver BC bhechter 
at yahoo.com
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