Re: Quality of source material from Development

Subject: Re: Quality of source material from Development
From: Rebecca Stevenson <rjstevenson -at- sprynet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001 11:14:05 -0500

At 7:01 AM -0800 12/11/01, Salan Sinclair wrote:

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
the code
-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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another more than we love ourselves, and occasionally we can
be quite good at it." - Li Kao, "Story of the Stone"


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Quality of source material from Development: From: Salan Sinclair

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