Re: Portfolio question

Subject: Re: Portfolio question
From: "Tim Altom" <taltom -at- simplywritten -dot- com>
To: "TechDoc List" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 20:30:12 -0500

Here we don't worry about the contents of a portfolio. Those are
conversation starters and nothing more, precisely because of some of the
caveats expressed here.

When we interview, we pick out some pieces from the portfolio and begin
talking shop. Deep shop. We want to know what they did on the piece, how
they did it, the tool they used, how that tool was set up, why they chose to
use that layout, those phrasings, that graphic. How was the graphic done?
Was it processed, resized, recolored? What problems did they have? Was it
edited by someone else? If they had to do it again, what changes would they
make? How did they conduct interviews? What problems did they have with
their SMEs, and how were those solved? And on and on. We purposely throw out
terminology to see if the candidate can understand them. For example, we'll
ask a purported PageMaker user if they ever overlap text blocks. A Word user
gets asked about the master document feature.

As you can probably guess, we'll know all about that particular project
before we're through, and phonies just can't get through that fine a net. We
have no need to make copies. We have no need to read them thoroughly. We
don't care. We want to know the process, not the outcome. Obvious
show-stoppers like copious misspellings or hideous layout must be addressed,
of course, but few manuals today are egregiously bad. The final output of
even bad manuals today looks pretty good, thanks to modern tools. But
there's no hiding from informed questions.

Tim Altom
Simply Written, Inc.
Featuring FrameMaker and the Clustar Method(TM)
"Better communication is a service to mankind."
Check our Web site for the upcoming Clustar class info

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