Usable Specs?

Subject: Usable Specs?
From: "Anthony Markatos" <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1999 09:12:21 PDT

Question to all listserv members:

I have read that software requirements specs are a primary input to technical writing efforts. Have you ever received specs (from the analysis and/or design folks) that significantly help you create end- user-focused documentation?

I seek responses for career planning purposes. All responses appreciated.

DIGRESSION: I am trying to get a better feel for what the "real" world is like. I have read that TW's utilize specs; but, frankly, none of the specs that I have seen would be of much help in creating effective end user oriented documentation. (Except, of course, for the ones that I have created :-) I have seen many a spec that Einstein could not make heads-or-tails of.

To be blunt, the specs that I have seen:

1.) Are NOT task oriented.

2.) Discuss HOW the software works, not WHAT the software does. (End users want to know the WHAT.)

Have you ever worked with anything different?

NOTE: From an academic perspective, software requirements specs ARE supposed to be task oriented and discuss the WHAT.


Tony Markatos
(tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com)

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