RE: Thinking Patterns (was RE: Interviews (5 Year Question))

Subject: RE: Thinking Patterns (was RE: Interviews (5 Year Question))
From: "David B. Stewart" <dbstewart -at- dswrite -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2001 00:17:37 -0500


> as a group, we are
> really good at writing sequential instructions--instructions typical
> of tool use and where order is important.
> Where we run into trouble, ... order may be dictated more by best
practices than by
> necessity, and where the need to perform some steps my be determined
> by the results of other steps.
> Is this a good observation? Are we, as writers, better at certain
> kinds of instructions than others?

We, as humans, are better at certain kinds of things than others. Writers
are no special subset of the human race. They are simply a subset.

The examples provided cause the writer to address varied degrees of logic
and business knowledge (e.g. best practices are not immediately logical to
all). If the writer is not a sound logician with expertise in the business
area under study, process mapping of complex tasks could be a challenge.
The resource with weak logic skills or lack of business practices should not
be assigned without backup.

Consider two mechanics. Each is at the top in his field for the same number
of years. Both are skilled, well trained, and certified. Now focus on
their expertise. One builds and repairs automobiles. The other builds and
repairs jet aircraft engines. The auto mechanic will struggle and likely
fail when asked to repair a jet engine. Is he less a mechanic? No. Is he
less skilled because he struggled or failed? No. Skills of each were
strong, yet different. Misapplication of the appropriate skill is a
management problem.

Business analysts and programmers may be more skilled at the complex logic.
That is why the writer must be part of the process team. Most people, not
just writers, will be at odds to win as a team of one.

Should technical writers be seen as flawed if they can't adequately document
complex logic? Not necessarily. Their skills may have been misapplied. It
is for the writer and the manager to know appropriate limits and apply them
correctly. Managers (and writers) that use excremental planning may be
destined to live with the odor of the finished product.

I believe we make too much of complexity. The world is as simple or complex
as the observer wishes to (or is able to) describe. Success is in sending
the best observer to the field.

Dave Stewart
Burleson, TX


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Thinking Patterns (was RE: Interviews (5 Year Question)): From: John Fleming

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