DITA writers: How long would you expect this legacy conversion to take?

Subject: DITA writers: How long would you expect this legacy conversion to take?
From: chitechwriter <chitechwriter -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2020 08:02:01 -0600

Hi everyone, I have a question for DITA writers, especially those who have
converted legacy content to a web-based customer help system.

*How long would you expect a DITA conversion to take? *

Here are some of the factors involved:

- The tech writer is new to the company and has to learn: DITA, the DITA
tool, the company's product offerings and the third-party platform they're
built on.

- There's no formal onboarding for new employees; this is a new position
at a small company and involves a lot of trial and error -- getting to know
the products, the company's inner workings, and the right people to
approach with questions.

- There is no existing infrastructure for a web-based help system -- it
is the tech writer's responsibility to find the best solution.

- The tech writer is also responsible for: Designing the look and feel
of the help site, generating new images (both static screenshots and
animated steps), and ensuring that the documentation is secured with a
client login.
- The login will be built from scratch by a developer, and the tech
writer will need to incorporate the developer's scripting into the DITA
project so that security gets baked into the output files.

- The initial conversion consists of several product guides, around
300-400 pages total (there is other collateral that may eventually be
added). The product guides are in a linear format and need to be outlined,
broken down into topics, and reworked as necessary.

- Other tasks before go-live include proofreading and editing the
converted help documentation, and devising a peer review process.
- The proofreading/editing falls to the tech writer, and the review
process is somewhat of a challenge because this is a small team and
everyone is swamped with their own work.

*Sample time frames* *for a DITA conversion*:

1. Less than 6 months
2. Six to twelve months
3. Twelve to eighteen months
4. Other (please specify)
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