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 15:57:31 -0800

mpriestl -at- ca -dot- ibm -dot- com wrote:

> My point being: someone's credibility should not be gauged by their command
> of irrelevant knowledge. Knowledge of the audience's domain is what's
> important for a writer, not knowledge of the programmer's domain. The only
> exception to this is when the audience's domain is programming.

Why does it have to be an either-or? Writers tend to be inbetween
the audience and the programmers, so a knowledge of both domains is

As for irrelevant knowledge, I'd suggest that there's no such thing
(with the possible exception of heraldry, to paraphase Samuel
Johnson). Personally, I find that I write a better end-user manual
when I'm not working at the limits of my knowledge. If I know more
than the audience needs to know, I can judge the audience more

Anyway, the chance to learn new things is one of tech-writing's
chief appeals to me. If I can learn without missing my deadline,
I'll do it.

> That said, I agree that developers are more likely to respect you if you
> have a clue about what they're doing. I just don't think it's fair or
> logical.

Fair? Logical? Since when do either of these things have any
relevance to dealing with people? :-)

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

"In inclement weather, the people are fey,
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Remembering, Fingol feels not far away,
The giant will rise with the moon."
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