Landmarks in instructions
05 September 2010
When you give travel directions, you include landmarks, and "gone too far" points. Turn left after you cross the bridge. Then look for my street and make a right. If you go past the water tower you've gone too far.
System administration instructions are much easier
to follow if they include those kind of check-ins
there, too. For example, if you explain how to set
up server software you can put in quick "landmark"
tests, such as, "at this point, you can run
see the port in the results." You can also include
"gone too far" information by pointing out problems
you can troubleshoot on the way.
A full-scale troubleshooting guide is a good idea, but quick warning signs as you go along are helpful. Much better than finding yourself lost at the end of a long set of setup instructions.