Re: Changed topic to skills we need - Warning! I am wordy.

Subject: Re: Changed topic to skills we need - Warning! I am wordy.
From: "Dick Margulis" <margulis -at- mail -dot- fiam -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com, tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 100 08:07:18 -0500


Tony Markatos said:

Geepers man - its not about learning new stuff! Its about creating highly usable documentation. And to the degree that a Tech Writer devotes his/her energies to DTP, pre-production, and all other technologies involved with (what JoAnn Hackos calls) Technical Writing "manufacturing" tasks, he/she moves away from performing necessary Technical Writing planning tasks (things like end-user task analysis and estimating).

And Dick Margulis responds:

This language takes us in a dangerous direction. If we posit that the only _valuable_ contributors to the process are the planners and managers and that the people who actually know how to execute well are "mere" craftspeople, then those "manufacturing" jobs will be less respected, less sought after, and less well compensated.

But in reality, we need both kinds of activities done well in order to have a successful outcome. Tony, I know this list isn't about spelling or grammar, and I really don't mean this personally, but for all of your analytic skills and ability to organize information, your capacity to communicate with the reader is impaired by your inattention to punctuation, for example. So once you are done with the parts of the job that you do well, you are still dependent on people who do the other parts of the job well..

Many managers in all fields seem to believe that once they have made the decision to accomplish something, the something is as good as done. But the doing really depends on people with specific skills that those same managers lack. The fact that they are so blinded by their own brilliance that they cannot recognize the contributions of others is, um, one or the more dysfunctional aspects of pathologically hierarchical organizations.

Yet I think this is a trap you may be falling into. Perhaps it would be helpful to step back and analyze flow of information between the analyst and the user instead of between the software and the user. I think you will find that flow can be impeded at a number of critical junctures, thus making all of them important.

Just my two cents.

Dick




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