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 _________________________________________________________________ Windows Live Hotmail and Microsoft Office Outlook ? together at last. ?Get it now. http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/HA102225181033.aspx?pid=CL100626971033_______________________________________________ You are currently subscribed to Framers as lhs_emf at pacbell.net. Send list messages to framers at lists.frameusers.com. To unsubscribe send a blank email to framers-unsubscribe at lists.frameusers.com or visit http://lists.frameusers.com/mailman/options/framers/lhs_emf%40pacbell.net Send administrative questions to listadmin at frameusers.com. Visit http://www.frameusers.com/ for more resources and info.