RE: Advocating Documentation and Support

Subject: RE: Advocating Documentation and Support
From: david -dot- locke -at- amd -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 14:34:17 -0600

The cost focus of trying to get customers to pay for documentation is
entirely wrong. While the cost of printing and staff time are invisible to
the customer, they do get lumped into the performance expectations which as
an industry software vendors have failed to deliver. CFOs do feel the costs.
The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) concept was created to account for these
costs. TCO motivated the zero-administration movement that eliminated system
administrators from many systems, and caused vendors to minimize or hide
administrative roles. But, the TCO doesn't account for negative use costs,
the biggest category of counter-productivity costs. Documentation lives in
these negative use costs. Pushing printing costs off on customers only
increases the costs.

Customers notice when vendors force them to print out pdfs and they don't
appreciate it. I've had customers ask me personally if I was one of those
people forcing them to print documentation.

The cost focus certainly gets you no respect from developers. There are no
easy answers about how to get respect from developers. What you can do is
extend them respect.

David W. Locke


Develop HTML-Based Help with Macromedia Dreamweaver 4 ($100 STC Discount)
**New Dates!!** San Francisco (Apr 16-17), San Jose (Mar 29-30) or 800-646-9989.

IPCC 01, the IEEE International Professional Communication Conference,
October 24-27, 2001 at historic La Fonda in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.

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