Re: Blue Collar Tech Writers

Subject: Re: Blue Collar Tech Writers
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Techwrl-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 13:37:13 -0800 (PST)

"Anthony Markatos" <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com> wrote in message...
> Don't plan writing - just do it you lazy #$ -at- *$&! Faster, faster, faster!
> - Such summarizes the opinion of a very frequent commentator to this
> listserv. Is this what TW is all about?

Oh, we don't need to be coy. Everybody knows its me.

> I recently read a book on software development project management that
> stated that a major reason product development planning efforts fail is
> because most software developers take a 'blue collar' (factory worker)
> approach to their work:
> Is it not also true that many Tech Writers take the same approach - always
> thinking with their hands on the keyboard?

Writing is ultimately a production process. You are building something - in our
case a document. The theory and talk has to stop at some point and you have to
just bang out the doc. Plans are only useful when they make people work faster,
more efficiently. Planning should NEVER take more than 10% of a project's time.
(I read that in book.)

I suggest you read Kevin Kelley's book "The New Rules for the New Economy". In
this book, Kelley talks about how all things in high tech have embraced the
principles of mass production - especially the Internet. The high-speed,
efficiency of manufacturing permeates the "new economy" at every level. As
such there is immense value in things that can be cranked out quickly.

Since most tech writers work in technology industries, I think they too are
being affected by the "new economy" principles.

Kelley's book also talks about the immense value in standardization (which
should bring a smile to all those who love style guides). However it cautions
that standards must establish a new way to do something that others can
leverage. This is why such things as the Microsoft Style Guide are so valuable
- they set a standard that provides instant recognition to others. There is no
need to alter the standard unless you accept the fact that this may cause a
loss in customers (readers).

Andrew Plato
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