Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Start of Work Questionnaire



Table of Contents

1. What is the Product?. 3

2. Who is the Audience?. 3

3. What is their Readability Index?. 3

4. What is the Purpose?. 3

5. What is the Deliverable?. 4

6. What are the available Resources?. 4

7. What is the preferred Writing Style?. 4

8. What is the Timeline?. 4

9. Who are the Key Information resources?. 4

Whenever starting on a new project, go through this questionnaire. All of them may not be applicable, so pick and choose. This is a broad outline.

1. What is the Product?

· The detailed description of the product.

· Its various features, applications, practical uses.

· How is it different and better than the existing market products?

· How will it help the users?( Helpful in writing the Introduction)

· What is its scope, its limitations, known limitations?

2. Who is the Audience?

· Who are the people who are going to use the product, and hence may need to use the documentation?

· What is their designation? Their educational background?

· Any other specific details?

3. What is their Readability Index?

· What is the comprehension level of the end user?

· Who is the average user? Define.

· Who is or can be the least qualified user of the application? Do they want to document keeping him in mind? Do they want to document the product keeping a specific user (say a system admin) in mind and let other users call tech support?

4. What is the Purpose?

· Why are we creating the document?

· What purpose does it serve?

· What measurable difference will it make to the end user (like easier understanding of application, hassle free and quick solutions) or you (like lesser calls to help desk, increased product credibility, boost in sales and thus higher ROI)?

5. What is the Deliverable?

· User Guise, Web Help, Quick Reference Guide, Video Based Tutorial, Installation Manual, Trouble shooting Guide, Computer Based Tutorial, Maintenance Guide, Release Notes, White Paper? What is your (Technical Writers’) opinion on the deliverable?

· What is the output format? PDF? .doc/.docx file? Web help? Printed doc?

6. What are the available Resources?

· Do you have access to the Internet, if onsite?

· Do you have access to the application, if off-site?

· What are the tools that you will require, considering the deliverables?

· Do they have the proper Computer setup and is it in place?( May and does lead to delays)

· Does that particular computer have all the application you require?

· Can you download trial versions of tools needed, if any?

· Where do they need their documentation stored? Do they need the images?

7. What is the preferred Writing Style?

· Do they follow a style guide?

· Do they have a template? Do we have to make one?

· Do they have copyright information/logo/ other things they want to incorporate in the document?

· Do they prefer an informal style of writing?

· Do they have previous written documentation? Do they want to follow the same writing style? Do they want to deviate from it? If so, how?

8. What is the Timeline?

· What is the deadline? (Do you need to negotiate over the deadline?)

· What are the working hours of the company?

· What time will the SME’s be available?

9. Who are the Key Information resources?

· Who are the SME’s? Their contact numbers, e-mail addresses, extension numbers and designations.

· Who are the Project Managers? Their Contact numbers, e-mail addresses, extension numbers.