It's a new millennium. Will companies ever learn?

Subject: It's a new millennium. Will companies ever learn?
From: "Chuck Martin" <twriter -at- sonic -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2001 00:30:18 -0800

A chunk of a job posting today on craigslist:

"...seeking a
talented Technical Writer to work on a cutting-edge E-Business project on a
two- to three-week contract basis. The
Technical Writer will create a user manual for a custom written web
application. Documentation will include graphics, screen
shots, and flow carts. Duties include interviewing developers and users as
well as compiling and formatting existing
documents. "

Now putting aside the content and organization of "existing documents"
probably aren't anything close to ready for users, this means doing a manual
form scratch in 2-3 weeks. Even in this allegedly enlightened age, technical
communicators still are not part of the development process, but rather
brought in at the end, when the product is nearly complete. A lot of these
new companies are being run by people who used to be at previous companies,
in some cases, several companies. Aren't these people learning anything?

And who is going to have time to find and schedule time to interview users
in 3 weeks?

At what pooint does it sink in that maybe it's no longer a matter of us not
fully educating the powers that be as to the value we do bring during the
whole process, but simply a matter of (a) simply stupid people still running
the shows not knowing what a fully staffed team needs, or (b) stupidly
frugal people running the processes who aren't willing to fully staff teams
from the start?


"[Programmers] cannot successfully be asked to design for users
because...inevitably, they will make judgments based on the
difficulty of coding and not on the user's real needs."
- Alan Cooper
"About Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design"

Chuck Martin
twriter "at" sonic "dot" net

Develop HTML-based Help with Macromedia Dreamweaver! (STC Discount.)
**NEW DATE/LOCATION!** January 16-17, 2001, New York, NY. or 800-646-9989.

Sponsored by DigiPub Solutions Corp, producers of PDF 2001
Conference East, June 4-5, Baltimore/Washington D.C. area. or toll-free 877/278-2131.

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