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  Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Gang doc review, anyone?

I just finished three straight afternoons of doc review--more fill-in-the-blank doc writing, really--totalling nearly 12 hours. We reserved a conference room for the afternoon, put my doc up on the wall via projector, and went through dozens of field and function descriptions. It was admittedly painful, but ultimately successful. I was able to get input from as many as seven developers all at once, instead of dragging bits of information out of them individually, then struggling to reconcile their often-conflicting statements. In fact, the product manager learned some fine-grained detail about his product that he didn't know before! And we recorded some bugs not previously found.

What would have made it better? Pizza, for one. Two projectors, for another: one for the doc, one for the product, so everyone could look at the same interface in action, instead of crowding around a laptop.

Is this any way to write doc? Well, not ideally, but for a new, complex product with many contributors, it seems like a great way to go. Of course, I'd written the skeleton, dropped in screenshots, formatted the tables beforehand, as the product developed. This was intended as a review session, but grew into much more. Would I do it again? Yes, under the right circumstances.

9:16:17 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

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