Keeping up w/ design

Subject: Keeping up w/ design
From: Scott McDaniel <mcdaniel -at- USPTO -dot- GOV>
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 1995 12:12:48 -0500


I'm a fairly new tech writer, and I thought I'd see what
sort of advice or anecdotes I could get relating to a
current situation I'm in.

When I started this job a couple of months ago, I inherited
a System Administrator's manual for a LAN database that manages
a CD-ROM library. About two thirds of the manual was already
written (though it needed heavy editing), with one third remaining.

My company developed the system before I arrived, and it is now
maintaining and updating the system for the client. Versions of this
manual are due every so often as new release dates occur, but there
is no specific deadline for final completion.

The problem I'm wrestling with: the system is still in development,
and features change as fast as I can keep up with them. It is not
evolving toward a specific final form. How have you dealt with
situations like this?

One tactic I've implemented involves colored pages. Since the
Reference Guide is in a large 3-ring binder, I'm having the programmers
do a quick write up of changes on pink paper and insert it into the
relevant portion of the manual. I'm planning on incorporating these
changes into the next release version.

Finally, the document is between 300 and 400 pages, and it is
currently on WordPerfect 5.1. Initially it was one HUGE file, but
I've broken it down into a master document with sub-documents.

Thanks for any words o' wisdom you may have,

Scott McD.


Scott McDaniel Garcia Consulting, Inc.
(703) 412-3662 2361 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 906
mcdaniel -at- uspto -dot- pioneer -dot- gov Arlington, VA 22202

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