RE: Take this engineer and shove it [Long]

Subject: RE: Take this engineer and shove it [Long]
From: Dan Emory <danemory -at- primenet -dot- com>
To: Jim Shaeffer <jims -at- spsi -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 15:31:12 -0700

At 04:44 PM 5/30/00 -0400, Jim Shaeffer wrote:

<snip...> So while the developers respect my work, management types simply
don't value tech Comm as much as development. </snip>

Geoffrey A. Moore's new book _Living on the Fault Line_ explains why this
management attitude is rational. No matter how good our documentation is, it
does not provide our companies with a way to 'differentiate their offering'.
Differentiation is not the problem documentation is intended to solve, but for
really complex software products in particular, documentation can make or
break the product. The more complicated and costly the product is, the
more vulnerable it is to poor documentation. Typically, a company considering
such a costly product gets an evaluation copy (with documentation) and hands
it over to an evaluator or an evaluation team that puts the product through the wringer.
On-line help is generally worthless in quickly getting up to speed in this situation.
The printed documentation had better be good, or the evaluators will fail to understand
the subtleties implicit in such products, and will find it difficult to make it work the
way they want it to. The result is a lost sale.

In other cases, the company buys a couple of copies of the product and tosses it
over the transom to users in a sink or swim situation. If they have trouble with
the documentation (here again, printed documentation is usually crucial),
the thing gets uninstalled and put it back on the shelf. Again a lost opportunity.

| Nullius in Verba |
Dan Emory, Dan Emory & Associates
FrameMaker/FrameMaker+SGML Document Design & Database Publishing
Voice/Fax: 949-722-8971 E-Mail: danemory -at- primenet -dot- com
10044 Adams Ave. #208, Huntington Beach, CA 92646
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