Observations from a Tech Architect: Enterprise Implementation Issues & Solutions

Developing Documents Part 1:Before Writing

Documents are hard to write. Because the writing process is so difficult, it makes sense that the author gets confirmation along the way that he/she is on the right track. It does no one any good to spend the effort developing the wrong document and then having to re-write major portions of it. The standard document preparation process is designed to minimize that risk

Understand the Content and Format Requirements

Before writing any material, the author:

  • obtains a partially completed work authorization form from the Data Management Coordinator which summarizes the requirements for this document including:
    • the document number,
    • the target page count,
    • the due date for internal approval by the work team manager,
    • the name of the internal Acceptor,
    • the name of the Company Acceptor,
    • a list of related or impacted documents,
    • a list of people expected to formally review the document.
    • becomes familiar with the Data Item Description (DID) and related contractual requirements,
  • becomes familiar with the Data Management Standards and Procedures, and seeks advice from the Quality Assurance Manager where necessary.

Understand the Schedule Requirements

In addition to the time required for preparation by the work team, each document goes through:

  • a formal review process involving other teams and the internal Acceptor,
  • translation, where the deliverable is required in bilingual form,
  • formal release to XYZ.

The complete schedule for each deliverable is specified on the Work Authorization Form received from the Data Management Coordinator.  Allowing for some schedule contingency, the processes following approval by the Work Team Manager can take up to three weeks or longer, depending on the deliverable. The author must review the schedule specified on the Work Authorization Form, decide how he or she can meet that schedule (involving the Work Team Manager to resolve any scheduling problems as appropriate) and then meet that date.

Authors and Work Team Managers must understand that the version delivered for release to the formal review process must represent the best effort of the Work Team and one that in its opinion could be released to XYZ.  The author and the work team must focus on developing the right deliverable, right, the first time.  The formal review process is intended to provide management assurance that the deliverable satisfies the given requirements for quality – not to correct basic flaws that should have been addressed within the work team.


Develop/Refine the Document Template

With a basic understanding of the contractual requirements and the schedule, the next step is to define and refine the document template. The template is developed based on the standard document template provided on the LAN and the authors understanding of the requirements. The refined template at this stage consists, of, as a minimum:

  • a Table of Contents consistent with the Data Item Description (DID),
  • a brief outline (one or two sentence description) of the contents of each section,
  • an estimated page count for each section.

Obtain Acceptance of the Work Authorization and Document Template

The Work Team Manager walks through the Work Authorization Form, and the Document Template with the internal Acceptor and both parties sign this to document acceptance of the document template and the commitment of the Work Team to the defined schedule.

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