this blog post) that I use is, in itself, a fairly typical engineering process. And of course he's absolutely correct. It's a perfectly ordinary process, based on the waterfall model.
It's called a waterfall model because if you start at the top, the results of the first step are used to move into the second step, just like water flowing down a series of steps into a pool.
The students I was speaking to are at a point in their projects where they need to be producing some documentation. For a bunch of budding engineers this process can be a little daunting, and the question came up about the best way to tackle it. The answer is fairly simple - start the top of the waterfall, and let the current take you. By answering a few questions in the information plan, you can start creating a content specification. Using the chapter headings and source information you developed in the content spec, you can write the document. Once it's written, you can publish it, once it's published you can review it, and then you're ready to start again at the top with the next project.
Technical writing is less of a creative process, and more of a scientific process than just about any other kind of writing (with the possible exclusion of some kinds of academic writing). The creativity only becomes important when you try and turn it from something dry and boring, to something magical.
Cross-posted to Foss Docs