Don Marti

Sun 05 Sep 2010 06:33:11 PM PDT

landmarks in instructions

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 you 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 nmap and 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 (For ideas, see the Checklist that Samba provides), 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.