Re[4]: Best Documentation

Subject: Re[4]: Best Documentation
From: Harry Hager <hhager -at- dttus -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com, tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com
Date: 08 Feb 2000 16:03:15 -0600


I simply cannot agree with your position.

You seem to say that tech writers are replaced because the written
material was inadequate but it wasn't poor writing technique. The
failure was alway due to some other problem.

As an aside, in about 1982 or 1883, I was the lead tech writer of a
three person effort at a then major computer manufacturer. I asked the
manager to remove one technical writer from the project and replace
him with another one because the first one simply could not master the
technique needed to perform on that specific project. This part of the
project was late, but it was completed by another tech writer. For
this particular project, there were doc plans, schedules, user
analysis, and the whole nine yards. This one element of the project
was the only element that was late. This writer simply could not
perform at the required level on this project. He was good enough for
some other projects, but not for this one. A few years later, he did
quite well on a similar project. At least that's the way I remember

Then you seem to say that even when development efforts fail it's
never because of lack of knowledge of coding technique. The failure is
always due to some other problem.

Unless I'm misinterpreting your position, you are saying that there
are no incompetent tech writers; there are no incompetent developers,
at least not incompetent enough to really screw up a project or
directly lead to the failure of a project.

Maybe there are no incompetent doctors either. All those successful
malpractice suits were wrong because the problem was really with the
planning, estimating, analysis, and so forth and never with the actual
technique or bad judgement used in the surgery. Then too, maybe there
are really no incompetent major league baseball players, not even
Marvelous Marvin Thornberry (sic?). All those errors in the Mets
outfield (1969?) should have really been chalked up to estimating,
analysis, and so forth.

I don't really want this to become a never ending story, but as I said
earlier, I guess we need to agree to disagree.

Jim Hager (not Hagar)

______________________________ Reply Separator
Subject: Re: Re[2]: Best Documentation
Author: tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com at Internet-USA
Date: 2/8/00 1:23 PM

Harry Hagar asks:

In 15 years of your tech comm experience, are you saying
you've never worked on a project or heard of a project where a writer
was replaced for failing to write adequate material?

Tony Markatos:

I have seen lots of failure - and in fact have had to 'clean-up' more
than one mess. The material was very inadequate, but NOT because of
poor writing technique. Failures occur because of shortcomings in in
analysis (including discussions with end-users), estimating,
organizing, and do to a lack of standardization.

Geepers man! I see the exact same thing in development. When was the
last time you heard of a development effort failing because of a lack
of knowledge of coding technique - it never happens. Development
projects fail for the same reasons as TW do - inadequate analysis,
estimating, organizing, and standardization.

Tony Markatos
(tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com)

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