Re: Quality of source material from Development
How much written information should software development department provide
for a technical writing department?
I've worked with developers who are better writers than I am, at least in their area of expertise. I've also worked with developers who believe that writing specs, code comments, and answers to tech writers' emails are somehow beneath them. :-)
My approach has always been to take whatever they give me, figure out what I can on my own, and ask about what I don't understand. The only "should" I apply to the whole process is that whatever they give me, from nigh-complete chapter to one-sentence answer, *should* be accurate. <g>
With the qualifier that all companies are different and what works one place might not work at another....
The Doc Manager says the advantages of good source material are:
-improves accuracy, because the experts (developers) are providing the core
They should be doing reviews no matter what.
-improves efficiency for developers who provide information one time to
several audiences: Docs, QA, training, and marketing
IME, documentation provides information to departments such as training and marketing, so this clearly varies.
-improves productivity for tech writers
While decreasing it for development. Which department is perceived as the one that brings in the cold hard cash? <g>
The Dev Manager says the disadvantages of good source material:
-reduces developers' productivity because developers don't have the time to
provide source material
-is unnecessary because all the information is available to tech writers in
-is unnecessary because tech writers can get the material through other
On the available information, I think your development manager has the better arguments. If all the information is accessible as it stands, it's hard to argue that your developers should be re-writing it instead of doing, oh, development.
Let your writers write and your developers develop, and there will be worldwide peace and happiness. :-)
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