RE: Joys of techwriting

Subject: RE: Joys of techwriting
From: "Lisa Wright" <liwright -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 09:53:29 -0800

Paul,
Good for you for pursuing this issue with your developers to the end!
And how great that you have developers who are open-minded and patient.

I had a similar situation myself recently, and it finally resolved just
yesterday. One of our programs included a built-in query that I was
never quite comfortable with, throughout testing and training. I asked
the developer about it, who went so far as to show me the code, where
she realized she had the two functions labeled backward, though
ultimately that was only part of the problem. We fiddled with the
wording in the interface. I still wasn't quite comfortable, but I
finally dropped it because they kept up the old "works as designed"
mantra.

So yesterday, a user calls and says "this isn't doing what I need it to
do." So I hash through it with her and realize, nope, it's not allowing
her to retrieve the records she needs to see. I go to the developers
again. "Works as designed." Finally I said, "If it's not doing what the
users need then it doesn't work." As they began to dig in more, they too
became confused, and our tech lead finally looked closely at the test I
ran and realized that it didn't do what she thought/expected it to do.

The end result was that they are including another operator to get the
correct data restriction on the query. But I've been kicking myself for
the last day for not pursuing this further when I *knew* it wasn't
right. They respect me and I do know what I'm talking about, so it's not
as if they wouldn't listen. But unlike Paul I was not persistent; I also
didn't take into account our lead developer's personality, which is to
put up roadblocks first and listen later.

I'm curious how others handle situations like this? What makes these
interactions work/not work? What do you do when you find something that,
on the surface, appears to work but the guts are messed up?

Lisa Wright

-----Original Message-----
On Behalf Of Paul Strasser
Subject: Joys of techwriting

I have no idea what this proves -- except to not give up when you don't
understand something. I kept telling this programmer, "I still don't
get it." I felt pretty dopey, but ultimately a big problem was
discovered. Maybe in a few years it might actually get fixed, but in the
meantime a User can actually use this function.

Paul Strasser
Lafayette, Colorado 80026


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References:
Joys of techwriting: From: Paul Strasser

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