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Subject:Re: The last minute crunch From:Goober Writer <gooberwriter -at- yahoo -dot- com> To:TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com> Date:Thu, 28 Aug 2003 23:02:25 -0700 (PDT)
> 1. Well in advance, notify everyone you are imposing
> a content
> freeze say, 48 hours (or whatever) before ship date.
> Inform them
> that changes after your freeze are candidates for
> the release notes.
Wow. 48 hours... I remember those days, back at the
dot-bomb... I now allow roughly 2 weeks (for online
deliverables) and 1 month (for print deliverables) to
ensure I get a final editing pass in and have ample
time for publishing (whether it be press, PDF, HTML,
online Help...) and production (duplication of media
and box stuffing).
> 2. When your freeze starts, take your doc offsite
> for final
> formatting and editing. Tell everyone to email you
> last-minute content.
Take it offsite? I don't get you there.
> 3. Return just before the deadline and inform
> everyone the doc
> is finished. Check your email and start working on
> the release
Huh? Where did you go? You mean you actually take the
doc and LEAVE at the 11th hour??? What good does that
do? I've seen people fired for less...
> Of course, if you feel you can't get away with this,
> then you
> can always wimp out on your freeze and go back to
> the old way of
> accepting changes up to the deadline (I've done
> that, too).
Well, it's not all that black and white.
John P. made an excellent point that so far seems to
have gone unnoticed:
If you're putting in a "gazillion" hours of overtime
at project's end just to get the docs out the door,
you did something wrong. It may be completely
unavoidable based on workplace culture, but more
likely you didn't make good on some things you should
You gotta be proactive from the onset of the project.
You gotta have a plan, a public and formal plan of
action, with quantified milestones. You gotta get
involved with all parties from the onset, from
marketing to support. You gotta schedule in review
time up front and make it clear who will be
accountable for what and when. And finally, you gotta
make good on all that AND get the writing done.
Don't have specs? Make a friend in development. Don't
have SMEs? Make a friend in QA.
Your job as a tech writer is as much a political and
management position as it is a "get crap done" position.
(because life is too short to be inept)
"As soon as you hear the phrase "studies show",
immediately put a hand on your wallet and cover your groin."
-- Geoff Hart
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