Get Paid to Write at Home
There are two kinds of help files context-sensitive help, which explains how the user interface works and reference help, which provides a reference to the system's functionality. Context-sensitive help is usually implemented by a movement on a user-interface icon (such as a right mouse click), which results in a description of what the icon does. Usually context-sensitive help consists of only one or two sentences, written by the user-interface team. Reference help files typically are more extensive, usually consisting of several paragraphs provided as HTML files or through the application framework's help file capability they are drafted by the technical writers under supervision of the design team. The technical writers also compose the other documentation, such as user and reference manuals.
Condition The state agency requires that all diagrams be developed using a software tool that our technical writers have not used before. Send all the technical writers to a 2-day course on the new tool. The training cost is 2,200. This will reduce the productivity factor to 1.1. Make one of the technical writers the tool expert. It will be his or her job to spend an average of 1 day each week to exercise the tool to find its limitations and to create standards and templates to build on its strengths. This will bring the productivity factor down to 1.0. The probability is a subjective estimate based on the average normal productivity of a junior technical writer versus a senior technical writer. Since all writers will be new to the tool, all are assigned the junior productivity factor.
Internal equipment costs apply to special equipment that is not routinely available. They do not apply to the kind of equipment that is standard or assumed for all workers. Technical writers, for example, are assumed to have computers with word processing software street repair crews are assumed to have shovels. But if that street repair crew needs a backhoe, the cost for this special equipment needs to be estimated separately. This separate estimate allows the purchase and maintenance costs of the internal equipment to be passed on to the customer.
Avoid using developers as document writers. They generally do not write well, they cost more per hour than document writers, and in any case, should be doing development. Writing documentation is a specialty, and so it should be done by professionals who respect the task. And you will spend less money for a better product.
The Economist Style Guide, Economist Books Ltd. 1991. This book was originally developed as a guide for people writing for The Economist magazine. It contains a compact, readable guide to good writing style, a comprehensive guide to good use of English (in both British and American contexts), and also a very interesting (but perhaps less relevant) fact checker for writers of political or economic articles.
Having the basic documentation enables a company to build any additional documentation that may be planned. In the government world, it can be used to generate as much paper as the project demands. In a commercial product development world, it provides sufficient information for technical writers to generate operations and user manuals. In IT departments, it ensures that code is managed and can be upgraded, converted, and used in constructive and productive ways.
The system test determines whether the system performs as the user expects, not whether it was built as designed or intended. Other test levels address these concerns. The system test should not have a view of the implementation, so it follows that it should be written in a clean room setting that is using only the customer requirements and, more important, the use cases as input. The system test writers should not have access to or be concerned with the system architecture.
Numerous writers have documented the value of applying the AHP methodology to project portfolio prioritization, selection, and management.6 Although their writing is primarily focused on the selection and analysis component of PPM, additional benefit arises from measuring project performance as well. There are three main types of PPM where the AHP can and has uniquely delivered value IT project portfolios, new product development portfolios,7 and application development portfolios. This chapter provides a general focus on PPM, outlining principles and best practices that have been successfully applied to these and other project portfolio types.
As the manager of this process, don't assume that any spare resource can do the documentation. Some people are not competent writers, even if they are very good at another aspect of development. If you have access to specialist technical authors, or certain members of your team have shown good writing ability, then use them. A good technical author doesn't need specialist knowledge in the technology or business area. It's a mistake to save on user documentation it's one of the most visible aspects by which your system will be judged acceptable or not. Bad documentation can make the system unusable, or cause errors in its use. Finally, just as with the code, standards are important. They will help the writers, and help the users to use the documentation. Standards can encourage good practices and discourage bad ones, and templates can embody a standardised structure for everyone to use. Make it simple for your authors, and the quality of documentation will be much higher.
As developers start writing their tasks, they will have questions for requirements analysts, writers, and testers who will have questions for the developers. The project team starts to bond in a cross-functional way before the project starts. (In reality, the project has already started see the sidebar on page 30 there just are no other artifacts at this time.) You can see what a short project might look like in Figure 4.1, on the next page.
A project management office consists of project managers, technical writers, and a minimal set of information technology specialists needed to formalize its process of software selection. Working for a public organization with its attendant oversight required a well-thought-out and formal life cycle process. Taking the waterfall model as a starting point, the 1074 map and steps were applied to develop a COTS software acquisition and implementation model.
Some companies organize their projects so that the developers are a project team reporting to the development manager as the project manager, the testers are a project team reporting to their test manager as project manager, the writers are a project team reporting to the documentation manager as their project manager, and so on. This kind of organizational structure leads to silos and reinforces the need for a phase-gate life cycle. If you can't convince your colleagues to change how they work, you're stuck with a difficult (some would say impossible) situation. See whether you can get small groups of developers, testers, and writers (whomever composes your project team) to work on features, even if the organization does not directly support that cross-functional work.
People with practical experience of working on projects invariably identify the handling of people as one of the most important aspects of project management. What people like Amanda and Brigette will want to know is whether the effective and sensitive management of staff comes only from experience or whether guidance can be usefully sought from writers on the topic.
The developers, testers, and writers all understand how to develop, test, and write about the system when they understand the context of the requirements. If they don't understand, they can ask better questions about the requirements than if the requirements are stated only in functional and nonfunctional requirements.
One hundred and twenty people worked in the development organization. Servicelst used a sequential, or waterfall, life cycle, and the staff was organized accordingly, with designers reporting to a design manager, coders reporting to a programming manager, testers reporting to a quality assurance (QA) manager, and writers reporting to a documentation manager. Servicelst releases a new version of its software approximately every six months. When I arrived to implement Scrum, the next planned release involved an aggressive integration into Servicelst's main product line of workflow and collaboration software built by a new partner. Some of the teams expressed doubts that the teams as constituted were adequate. Some teams didn't seem to have enough testers to do all of the testing or enough writers to create all of the documentation. In response, I explained to them that a Team is cross-functional in situations where everyone is chipping in to build the functionality, you don't have to be...
We contend that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the waterfall approach, even though more recent writers have suggested different models. It is the ideal that the project manager strives for. The waterfall approach allows project completion times to be forecast with more confidence than is the case with some more iterative approaches and this allows projects to be controlled effectively. However, where there is uncertainty about how a system is to be implemented, and unfortunately there very often is, a more flexible, iterative, approach may be required.
Look at the example on the previous page you start the project, then Andy joins a bit later, and Bill later still. The three of you work together through the bulk of the project, but you can release Bill two weeks before the end. This is quite typical of most development projects you start with a few people with management and analysis skills, increase the team by adding designers, programmers, testers and writers during the central stages, and then reduce the team again (eventually to a few managers and maintainers) at the end
Walsham (1992) has suggested a management framework that views organizational change as a jointly analytical, educational and political process where important interacting dimensions are the context, content, and process of the change. Significant aspects of context include stakeholders' perspectives and relationships between those affected by a particular project, the history of existing procedures and systems, informal networks and procedures, and infrastructure needs (e.g., skills and resources required). The process of change involves the dynamics of interaction between participants in a project and others who are affected by it or who can affect it. Significant aspects of process include power politics and organizational culture. Implementing a significant change, like the introduction of RMP, needs to take these dimensions into account. Other writers on the management of change have related the implementation process to Lewin's (1947) model of planned change, which involves...
For newsworthy releases, a list of analysts who influence the financial markets, the press, or your target user base should be identified. Communications is responsible for identifying the correct analyst, for checking if any upcoming reports are applicable, for reviewing the reports for impact, and for developing a strategy of how best to update the analysts. The user demographic information is used to identify which media should be pitched to. Communications works with the company's public relations firm to identify the themes that need to be developed for pitching the stories. Communications should identify an appropriate position for each publication and then find the writer responsible for covering this market. Communications should identify if certain analysts and press outlets will receive the information early or if they will receive the information during a specified press tour. Considerations are made due to press dates since some publications need a longer lead time. If a...
The writer This role can be separated from the moderation function. Moderators sometimes tend to reduce complexity too much and to oversimplify. A concentrated writer will capture and note more details. This is important as these notes are the basis of all summaries which have to be made in the process. (The writer) Step 6 Process reflection 10-15 min. Now the whole group reflects on the process, on each role, on the roles of the moderator and the writer, and on how contributions have been made.
Some project managers add a technical writer to the team from the beginning with the purpose of them heading up the creation of a look-and-feel document (to direct the formatting and tone of written work from a corporate perspective) or style guide (to handle standards for spelling, grammar, and other particulars), as well as accompanying documentation for your project. In fact, many companies have set procedures for formatting and writing important documents. If your budget allows you to hire a technical writer, you'll find that this is money well spent.
Many organizations have a procurement office. In this case, you need to give them a document with your requirements and let them do their work. If you don't have a procurement office, you need to prepare a document to send to the vendors. You'll want to have a lead writer, probably not you, and someone
We hope to emphasize the nature of some of the occurrences, events, and decisions which were associated with this incident and suggest that these occur with varying frequency and severity in most organizations and thus must be watched for constantly. The issues seem, to, this writer, to be central to the profession of project management and the ethics thereof. While in no way discounting the magnitude of this disaster, it would be further regrettable if we failed to examine it rationally, to learn from this incident, and use the lessons learned to not only continue the exploration of space but also improve the management of projects of all types and sizes. The Challenger incident w s indeed unfortunate. The opportunities to team from it are abundant. Some of the lessons recognized by this writer ar summarized below. It is hoped that th s essohS will be of benefit to the Spiri student as well as the seasoned practitioner.
If you set up a resource field that defines certain skill sets, you can use the Assign Resources dialog box to filter for resources with specific skills. For example, you can use the Group field in the Resource Sheet to specify the type of resource for example, Writer, Editor, Designer, or Programmer. To assign writing tasks, you can filter for Writer in the Group field. To assign programming tasks, you can filter for Programmer in the Group field. Filtering by the Group field can be especially useful if you have a large number of resources.
First-draft documents are presented and reviewed. By the end of Phase 3, the first turn on the documentation should be complete. The documentation writer should have presented his or her first draft to each team member for review. The team members are responsible for confirming that the documentation meets the needs of their department and the Documentation Plan. The first-draft changes should be returned and the documentation updated before QA begins.
If you find this entire endeavor to be a bit unappealing (most IT folks would rather go study DOS commands than deal with policies), find someone on your team that finds this interesting and challenging. Find someone who communicates well and (ideally) is a decent writer and ask them to own the process or the task or to head up the project team.This is a very important part of overall network security and it should get your star players, not your also-ran's. Well-crafted policies delivered in an appealing and usable format will go much further than any firewall ever can. Incorporate solid policy development and management as part of your overall operational security plan.
Unit test planning is very straightforward. Each class developer is responsible for writing, conducting, and documenting the successful completion of unit tests of his or her class. (Note The class developer writes the unit test.) The function of this test is to ensure that the objects of this class perform as the developer intended. There is no point in the developer and the test writer communicating their common understanding of what the class is expected to do the quality assurance team audits the adequacy or the unit testing and the reports. As a manager, you need to ensure that this expectation has been set and that the audit processes are in place.
Project reporting is usually achieved via a menu-driven report writer system that allows the user to request several standard reports in a standard format. The user can also modify these reports or create new ones. Depending on the sophistication of the system and its peripheral hardware, these reports are supported by a full range of Gantt charts, network diagrams, tabular summaries, and business graphics. A sample of reporting capabilities available today includes In addition, many software packages feature a user-oriented, free-format report writer for styled project reporting.
In an attempt to help, I spoke to the spec writer and tried to offer some advice. He admitted that he'd lost focus and that the spec itself wasn't that important, but he still believed his approach was good. He claimed that because he knew the programmers would need a reference for both the expected behavior and the higher-level details of the object relationships, it made sense to combine them all together. My opinion was that even if a person needs both kinds of information, there's no reason to assume she needs them at the same time or on the same page. Often, it's easier to write and read at a single level of thought, and deal with the story one level at a time, than it is to combine them together. Good specifications often describe the design in layers first, what the customer experiences described in customer language second, a high-level overview of basic objects and architecture and third, coverage of complex and detailed engineering design issues.
At the same time, selected OPM3 members began assisting a technical writer, Paul Wesman, with the task of actually describing the Model and the concepts of OPM3. Professional writing expertise was needed for the primary writing and editing of the Standard, to ensure that the final product would read smoothly and with one voice. For the first six months of 2003, the team was heavily engaged in writing, rewriting, editing, and amending the OPM3 text. As a result of these efforts and the efforts of the ERT, by June of 2003, the OPM3 team was able to release a draft of OPM3 to beta testers for its first complete test run.
Data can be analyzed by project, resources, timeslice, and so on at any level of detail. All analysis views are in the spreadsheet format, with a freeze column at the right and a freeze row at the bottom (user selectable). Data can be viewed in Hours, Revenue, Labor (costs), or Percentage of Available Time. All views can be printed. In addition, there is a report writer for graphs and customized reports.
As you can see in the table, you will need about 1,200 person-months of effort over two years. This comes to about 50 developers. This estimate is incomplete, as it does not include the test and integration team, quality assurance, tool support, the technical writers, and the technical and managerial leadership.
Your technical writer or assigned team member should start creating the user manual and user help documents at the start of the project. This is an important deliverable to your software project, and should not be withheld until the end of the project. This is another area where it can often pay huge dividends if you can afford to have a technical writer as part of the team. Having an experienced person in this field can lessen the burden on the team.
Jim Highsmith is one of a few modern writers who are helping us understand the new nature of w ork in the know ledge economy. A transitio n from industrial-age thinking to management more suited to reliable innovation is well underway. But few people yet understand the implications of this shift. Agile Project Management explains what's going on with startling clarity. Perhaps more importantly, it provides the vital management structure and practical advice that will support ongoing innovasion in your company.
In any creative process, once you have enough ideas someone has to look at the possibilities and divide them into useful piles. This makes it possible to understand the different viable design directions and to begin to see their differences. (As a rule, 4 or 5 piles of things are easier to work with than 30, 50, or 150 individual things. This is true for ideas, specifications, hyperactive children, small animals, pieces of candy, annoying writers that make silly lists for no reason, etc.) It's fine if some ideas are represented in prototypes and others in scribbles, notes, or unexplored thoughts. The goal isn't to eliminate or refine individual ideas, it's to put some shape and structure around them all.
Some writers and instructors differentiate four bases for estimating costs experience, quantitative (statistical) methods, constraints, and worksheets. They discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each and then, typically, decide that one or another gives the best results. We feel strongly that all four are useful and that no approach to cost estimation should be accepted as the best or rejected out of hand. The best estimators seem to employ an eclectic approach that uses, as one said, anything that works. The wise PM takes into account as many known influences on the project budget as can be predicted. What cannot be predicted must then, by experience, simply be allowed for. There are two other factors, particularly common to projects involving intangible outputs such as software programming, that need to be mentioned relating to cost-estimation and the schedule. These two factors have been identified in a classic and highly-readable work The Mythical Man-Month by Brooks 17 ,
As can be imagined, SLOC is a very imprecise measure. Does it include comment lines Are data declarations to be included Unfortunately, researchers have not been consistent on these points. The writers' view is that comment lines are excluded, but data declarations are included. The argument for including data declarations is that in Cobol especially, it is possible to transfer much of the specification of processing to the DATA DIVISION, by using, for example, the report writer facility. Others might argue over this, but the main point is that consistency is essential.
Some of the rules and weightings used in FP counting, especially in the case of the Albrecht flavour, are rather arbitrary and have been criticized by academic writers on this account. l Ps. however, are w idely used in practice because of the lack of other methods of gauging the functional size of information systems.
Condition The state agency requires that all diagrams be developed using a software tool that our technical writers have not used before. Send all the technical writers to a 2-day course on the new tool. The training cost is 2,200. This will reduce the productivity factor to 1.1. Make one of the technical writers the tool expert. It will be his or her job to spend an average of 1 day each week to exercise the tool to find its limitations and to create standards and templates to build on its strengths. This will bring the productivity factor down to 1.0. The probability is a subjective estimate based on the average normal productivity of a junior technical writer versus a senior technical writer. Since all writers will be new to the tool, all are assigned the junior productivity factor. The normal cost for the required documentation is 20 labor months and the normal duration is 4 months.
Other notable writers on human emotion, such as Leo F. Buscaglia or John Bradshaw,(7) go on to point out that the healthier and more emotionally mature a person is, the more aware he is of his own emotions and those of others, giving him a wider range of choices for how to respond to the emotions of others. This implies that a leader in a crisis situation has better odds of success if she can see emotional patterns and make use of different ways to manage them.
I've grown this organization from the original seven developers to the few hundred developers, testers, writers, release engineers, and assorted other folks in the past ten years. And the one thing it took me a while to learn was that interruptions were a big problem for us, especially when we were a small organization.
Fundamental to the success of any project is documented planning in the form of a program plan. In a ideal situation, the program office can present the functional manager with a copy of the program plai simply say accomplish it. The concept of the program plan came under severe scrutiny during the 1 when the Department of Defense required all contractors to submit detailed planning to such extreme many organizations were wasting talented people by having them serve as writers instead of doers. Si then, because of the complexity of large programs, requirements imposed on the program plan have b eased.
Every project-based organization has a technical competency that makes it valuable to its customers. These are the areas of technical specialization necessary to design, build, test, or operate a product or service. For an aerospace firm, it includes engineers who can successfully translate a requirement to a design for a new aircraft or satellite. For an advertising firm, it is the skills to design and produce a television commercial. Technical skills are the reason we hire accountants, technical writers, software developers, photographers, and so on.
We contend that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the waterfall approach, even though more recent writers have suggested different models. It is the ideal that the project manager strives for. The waterfall approach allows project completion times to be forecast w ith more confidence than is the case with some more iterative approaches and this allows projects to be controlled effectively. However, where there is uncertainty about how a system is to be implemented, and unfortunately there very often is, a more flexible, iterative, approach may be required.
Boorstin's series of three history books (The Discoverers, The Creators, The Seekers) are worth their weight in gold. The Creators follows the Western history of creative work, from architects, painters, and writers, to engineers. He finds anecdotes and stories that make their pursuits directly relevant and inspirational to anyone trying to do creative work today.
The client can be singled out as the culprit in cases where there have been misunderstandings leading to inaccurate or incorrect specifications, which in turn lead to problems with the final implementation. The technical staff will claim that they have carried out the wishes of the client as laid out in the specifications, and the technical writers will claim that they accurately described both the problem domain and proposed solution. Peer review will help enormously in trying to ascertain where there are assumptions or estimations that have been presented as facts, in two key ways. First, if those involved in creating the specifications, or providing input to the process where specialized technical writers are creating the documents themselves, know that there will be a peer review process, they are more likely to check their facts.
The best writers should be assigned to the proposal. Many technically talented people are not able to write coherent proposals. Many imaginative people decide to apply their imagination by not following the rules established for the proposal. At the same time, there are usually some people who are very talented from a technical point of view and who are also wonderful writers. These folks should be assigned to writing the proposal. The basic rule is to use your best technical and writing talents to write all proposals, wherever possible. In addition, use many charts, figures, exhibits, and diagrams to explain your approach to your customer.
The management of conflict in creative and useful ways, rather than its containment or abolition, has been proposed by many writers. Various strategies for dealing with conflict at different levels and for managing disagreements have also been proposed. Most of these methods have not been experimentally evaluated. Given the central and inevitable role of conflict in human affairs, a high priority of importance is to be placed on learning the most effective way to resolve it.
Some of the literature that poses causes and solutions to project problems also offers anecdotal evidence that a given solution worked to improve project success in one or more subsequent projects. While this evidence is interesting, it does little to prove that the writers have really solved the cause of lack of success in project systems. Reasons for this include the following
The best athletes, writers, programmers, and managers tend to be the ones who always see what they do as simple in nature but simultaneously difficult. Remember that simple is not the same thing as easy. For example, it's a simple thing to run a marathon. You start running and don't stop until you've reached 26.2 miles. What could be simpler The fact that it's difficult doesn't negate its simplicity. Leadership and management are also difficult, but their naturegetting things done in a specific way toward a specific goalis simple.
Senior Developer (600 ), Developer (4,000 ), Junior Developer (1,500 ),Technical Writer (300 ), Manager (700 ) Senior Developer (600 ), Developer (3,600 ), Junior Developer (1,000 ), Technical Writer (300 ), Manager (700 ) Developer (200 ), Junior Developer (200 ) Junior Developer, Technical Writer (200 ) Technical Writer
The precise way in which the contents of a proposal are organized usually follows the directions found in the TPR or RFP, the stated requirements of a specific potential funder, the traditional form used by the organization issuing the proposal, or, occasionally, the whim of the writer. As is the case with most products, the highest probability of acceptance will occur when the proposal meets the expectations of the buyer, as to form and contents.
In the documentation industry, extensive use is made of third party contractors for tasks such as writing, typesetting, graphics, editing, indexing, and front cover design. The phases in a publications process are very specialized and demand great patience and challenges to ensure that project dates are met. If a journalist or writer misses a deadline, the magazine, newspaper, or book can be seriously delayed. The process, shown in Figure 4.13, is explained as follows
This is the tenth book on which I've worked as a contributing writer, coauthor, or solo author for Sybex. All of them have been challenging and fun, and through them I've learned a lot about publishing. One thing I can tell you is that every individual affiliated with Sybex has been of great character and has gone beyond the call of duty to refine and produce a wonderful book. Their efforts can be found in everything from the edits to the graphics to the test engines and everything in between. See You just cannot beat the caliber of folks working for Sybex. Aren't you jealous that you're not a writer for this company and don't get to work with the level of professionalism that I've been spoiled by for the last few years
SLOC is a very imprecise measure. Does it include comment lines Are data declarations to be included Unfortunately, researchers have not been consistent on these points. The writers' view is that comment lines arc excluded, but data declarations arc included. The argument for including data declarations is that in Cobol especially, it is possible to transfer much of the specification of processing to the DATA DIVISION, by using, for example, the report writer facility. Others might argue over this, hut the main point is that consistency is essential.
One usually expects standards to he applicable fairly immediately, hut the writers of BS 6079 warn that it might take an organization three to live years to move from a totally functional to a matrix organization. Rather surprisingly for a document that is supposed to he focused on project management, there is a section on the broader topic of how to bring about organizational change. This is an example of where a reference to a fuller treatment in another text would have been useful.
We then added a small number of functional business requirements. The account management organization wanted customers to be able to directly access their accounts and review balances and previous transactions over the Web. We broke these requirements down into smaller pieces and parsed them among the nonfunctional requirements, planning to build part of the account management functionality every Sprint while putting the scaling infrastructure and materials in place. To staff this team, we selected some of the best designers and architects at MegaFund. Because the Product Backlog required standards and infrastructure development, we also staffed the team with writers and infrastructure and build engineers. As a result, the team was somewhat oversized at 10 people.
They are all based on one simple principle the ability to effectively identify the problem domain (that which we want to document) and then break it down into pieces that can be logically grouped in order to create a structured final document. This is much like the mechanisms that are needed to perform software engineering, and so it is logical to assume that good software engineers can also make good document engineers and technical writers. Unfortunately, where this connection falls down is in the realization of two basic differences between technical writers and software engineers or programmers. The first is that programmers are generally not very good at conveying complex ideas to a third party as a collection of simple ones. They assume that the reader has the same level of technical competence as they do, which is not necessarily going to be the case. The second difference is that, unlike technical writers, programmers and software engineers do not enjoy writing documentation,...