Re: where do docs fit in the development process?
Sadly, the manager are rarely available for meetings about docs
You might get better results by using e-mail, a single question per e-mail. This technique is useful because people are more likely to answer a single question than a series of them. Also, by restricting yourself to one question per e-mail, you ensure that your name appears frequently in their inbox. After a while, even the dullest should start to understand that you need a lot of input.
I also find that the more people I CC on an email, the less likely I am to get an answer -- they all figure someone else will answer it. ;) If you direct it at one person (*maybe* two) they are more likely to just find you the answer or forward it on to the person who does have the answer.
When do YOU schedule
reviews? How are they done? Are you present? Do you give them donuts?
You'll need to try a variety of techniques to find out which ones work at your company. Different companies - in fact, different departments and different people - have different approaches. Because most people are not focused on writing, you generally have to accomodate yourself to them, not the other way around.
That said, I've never cared for bringing in food as a bribe. That's being too accomodating, and setting yourself to being taken advantage of. Besides, you may not respect people that you placate that way, and that won't help your working relation, either.
I bring in food if they're reviewing it during lunch. If they say that's the only free time they have and they want to review it then, lunch will bring in everyone! Some people prefer to review it over the weekend.
Sometimes you have to have one key reviewer for a particular book or section -- that way they know they have to do it, but at least they have a smaller portion to read.
Sometimes giving them too long to review is a bad idea -- I never got more results for a two week review than a one week review. They all waited until the last two days anyway.
Sometimes you need to get their manager to buy in and tell them that reviewing the documentation is part of their job, not just something they do if they have "free time".
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