Re: Managing Engineers

Subject: Re: Managing Engineers
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2000 10:49:30 -0800

Andrew Plato wrote:

> While some engineers are like this, honestly, most engineers do respect the
> need for decent documentation. The problem is that many engineers feel like the
> writers have zero interest in really understanding what the engineers do.

The reason that engineers have this impression is that it's often
true. I've met far too many writers who think that if they cut and
paste from the specs or from comments in the code and do a bit of
light editing, then they've done their job. Some writers don't even
understand that there's any other way. After meeting a few writers
like that, no wonder if engineers look down on the profession. Any
decent person would.

> Engineers LOVE to talk about their work and demonstrate their knowledge. But,
> there is an entry fee to get this knowledge. You have to have *some* technical
> capability and be able to talk shop with them. If you show with a "I don't need
> to know those technical things" attitude, of course they will think you're a
> waste of time. You're not helping make their product look better.

If you can't talk shop, an intelligent interest is almost as good.

But I don't think that engineers want their product to look better.
Most engineers would be happy tinkering until they died, and whether
a product gets out the door is almost irrelevant to them. However,
like anyone else, engineers do enjoy having their work taken
seriously, and their results appreciated. After all many engineers
regard their work as a craft, if not an art.

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
Contributing Editor, Maximum Linux
604.421.7189 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

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