RE: Content Moratorium

Subject: RE: Content Moratorium
From: jgarison -at- ide -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2001 16:09:10 -0500

I wrote the following earlier today, and I should have prefaced it by saying
that this is a way to cope with the current situation while you work to make
some very needed process changes. (That also helps me sound less like

I worked in the "who knows what the final product will look like" mode for
many, many years. It sucks. You feel like the guy at the end of the parade
with the broom and dustbin. But it is possible to get out in front - or at
least in the head ranks. It takes a lot of work and commitment by all
involved, and a huge amount of management support. Quite honestly, I have
never personally seen it happen in a company larger than 25 people because
such cultural changes are very difficult to foment.

But it can happen as part of a MAJOR corporate overhaul - like when they pay
gazillions of dollars to a consultant company to come in and create better
development processes for the whole company.

So, if you want to cope, heed the following words. But if you want to make
your world a better place, start enlisting powerful allies or look for a
better situation.


John Garison
Documentation Manager
150 Baker Avenue Extension
Concord, MA 01742

Voice: 978-402-2907
Fax: 978-318-9376


My strategy is to figure out what the most the product could do is, and then
write a "skim coat" for everything so that at least everything is minimally
documented. Then, using the skills I teach in my patented "Swamp Draining"
metaphor, I figure out which pieces of the software morass will harden
first, and document them. Then, as more of the swamp becomes terra firma, I
move on and document the solid ground. Eventually, there are still one or
two quicksand areas that I step around as trepidaciously as possible, trying
to catch them as they dry up. This usually gets me as close to getting
everything described as possible at the time they ship. Of course, I keep a
weather eye out on those pieces of dried up sod, too, as often someone is
tempted to add a new hillock, or dig something up that used to work and
replace it with something that may or may not work, but is certainly

If I put too much time and effort into the perpetually slushy stuff,
something awful happens - like they decide to not ship that chunk and I have
wasted a lot of time watching swamp dry when I could have been doing
something more useful.

Well, it makes sense to me ... and I'm starting to sound like Andrew!!!



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