RE: Please send alcoholic beverages

Subject: RE: Please send alcoholic beverages
From: Dave Neufeld <Dave_Neufeld -at- spectrumsignal -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2000 16:52:26 -0700

Will marketing be willing to contribute to and be one of the approvals for
your template and style guide? What is it exactly that they want to approve?
Document design, writing style, topic organization, disclosure (ie. "don't
mention that Windows 95 isn't supported. wink, wink...").

Depending upon what they want to influence, marketing may only need to
review/approve of your document design or style guide. Which is fine; isn't
determining how a company portrays itself a responsibility of Marketing???

The more eyes that review a document, the better. BUT each review needs to
have a scope and purpose.



I would have two concerns in this situation:

1.) If each document is reviewed by Marketing, that will increase the
effort/time for the document to be released. Can you afford the schedule
slippage.

2.) Because marketing is focused on pre-sales, you should ensure that this
is balanced by reviewers with a post-sales bias, such as Technical Support.

With regard to concern 2, this is what I do. I currently work with a 2-phase
review process. Once Engineering is satisfied that the document is accurate
and complete, it is handed to Tech Support for final review along with the
product. This allows them to learn about the product they will be
supporting. They are especially focussed on ensuring that the documentation
and product works AFTER the sale. They don't care whether the documentation
hypnotizes the reader into buying the product; they don't want silly support
calls that should have been handled in the documentation and better product
design.

I arrived at this 2 phase review process after streamlining the initial
process in which I invited all interested parties to review the first
documents written at the company (I started the documentation department
here). This included Marketing, which I actively pursued so that I could get
everyone's contribution. They reviewed and contributed to the template
design, and that's all they wanted to do. Now my process is fairly robust
for the type of audience I write to, and it's as fast as I can imagine.

Perhaps you could regain control of this situation by pursuing Marketings
input? Turn the tables on them. Don't wait for them to come to you, go
hassle them for their input. Although, at this point that may be like
closing the barn door after the horsey has gone bye-bye...

David Neufeld
dave_neufeld -at- spectrumsignal -dot- com
Spectrum Signal Processing, Inc.




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