TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Now here's an idea... From:Anatole Wilson <awilson -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM> Date:Wed, 23 Feb 1994 09:59:07 PST
I agree, prototyping is a very valuable tool for encouraging cross-functional
teamwork and problem solving up front. We're also experimenting here with
"low-fidelity prototyping," in which the user interface is simulated with
paper and Post-its. Early results show that a lot of technical "holes" have
been identified much earlier in the planning.
There are two reasons, however, that I still feel some sort of vision statement
or preliminary white paper is a worth creating before you even start working on
First, you need to have some idea of what you want the program to do before you
begin designing it. Everyone needs to have a common vision of what the end
result should be (what does the end user want this program to do). Otherwise,
the prototyping session is going to be a mess.
Second, there's always a need to communicate with people who do not have the
time (or inclination or availability) to see the prototype demo'd. Often the
upper management has to approve some sort of funding before work on the
prototype can begin. These people need a short, plain-language piece that
explains what the software will do when it's finished, and how this will
benefit the company's customers.
(By the way, Lavonna, notice that I used "in which" in the first paragraph--
"where" just didn't sound right.)
Anatole Wilson "Thou hast most traitorously
Sr. Assoc. Information Developer corrupted the youth of the realm
IBM, Santa Teresa Labs by erecting a grammar school...
awilson -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com It will be proved to thy face that
thou hast men about thee that
usually talk of a noun and a verb,
and such abominable words as no
Christian ear can endure to hear."
all company disclaimers apply --Wm. Shakespeare, 2 Henry VI, 4.7