RE: Just do it

Subject: RE: Just do it
From: ccallen -at- beckman -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 2000 09:39:56 -0700

Andrew Plato wrote:

Second, no survey can possible address all the nuances of doing a job.
There are countless little issues and gotchas that never get into a survey
or get considered.

....At some point you have to learn about the topic and what users do. If
you're really serious about "getting into your customer/user's head" then
do their job for a while.

When I wanted to know how to install and setup stored procedures in a
client's Oracle database - I learned how to do it. It was a breeze
documenting it once I knew how to do it. I knew *exactly* what the users
would need to know because I was a user for a while. I also understood all
the little idosyncracies of doing it, particularly what to warn the user
and how to communicate complex steps.

This method may be adequate for writers who document only software, but I
doubt that it would have been very effective when I was writing flight
manuals and checklists for fighter aircraft (flight school takes quite a
while). Also, following this method would have required me to crash a plane
in a desert, at sea, or on a mountain, then find my way back by living off
the land when I wrote survival manuals for the Air Force (U.S.).

I'm glad there were other ways to obtain the information I needed.

ccallen -at- beckman -dot- com

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