RE: Interviewing Subject Matter Experts

Subject: RE: Interviewing Subject Matter Experts
From: "Jane Carnall" <jane -dot- carnall -at- digitalbridges -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 13:19:01 +0100

Bwolf wrote, about working with a format-monkey:
>He took the functional specifications the engineers wrote and made them
>pretty. I tried to write the architectural documents based on talking to
>bosses when they had the time to talk. I also redrew some State Machines
>and pointed-out logical flaws. IOW, I tried to be a proactive technical
>writer while he played the buddy game. It was a no-win situation.
>Lesson: Beware of format-monkeys. If you find yourself working with one,
>devise a painless exit strategy and follow it. Quickly.

Equally, beware the job where they *want* you to be a format monkey. If you
ask how much access you'll have to the SMEs, and they say "Actually, you'll
be locked in a disused lavatory with 'Beware of the Leopard' on the door,
but you will have full access to all the functional specs and they have
everything you'll need" ... don't take the job unless you're desperate. (Or
have sufficient persistence, charm, self-confidence, and chocolate to get
through to the SMEs anyway.)

Jane Carnall
"Go not to the technical writers for counsel, for they will tell you to


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Re: Interviewing Subject Matter Experts: From: bwolf

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