Integrating Tech Pubs more closely with Engineering?

Subject: Integrating Tech Pubs more closely with Engineering?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2002 09:49:24 -0500

Martin Smith, reporting the familiar "you're not one of us" cold shoulders
from the Engineering group, wonders: <<Does anyone have any suggestions for
breaking down departmental barriers that inhibit the level of cooperation
essential to produce solid technical documentation.>>

The trick is to recognize the difference between formal professional
relationships and informal personal relationships. It's easy to get involved
in a ghetto mentality, circle the wagons, and start looking at everyone
outside the circle as an enemy; that's certainly true of techwhirlers (as
repeated discussions on this list prove), and doubly true in any corporation
with firmly entrenched "departments".

The solution to such problems is always to establish a relationship with
your engineers that goes beyond what you're paid to do at work: play
volleyball with them at lunch, find out about their kids, invite them to a
mutually beloved genre movie (e.g., Monty Python and the Holy Grail), or
walk with them to work. Play poker with them, or bridge, or mah jong. In
short, find something you have in common with them and establish a human
connection.

People will gladly bend the rules and look outside the department for a
friend; they're far less likely to do it for someone who just works for the
same company. Two key tips, though: (1) Don't fake affection for someone you
don't really like; they'll figure it out and resent you for it. (2) Take
your time and gradually develop the relationship; leaping suddenly upon
someone and forcing them to be your friend simply won't work.

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
"User's advocate" online monthly at
www.raycomm.com/techwhirl/usersadvocate.html

Hofstadter's Law--"The time and effort required to complete a project are
always more than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's
Law."

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