Re: Re; Validating documentation

Subject: Re: Re; Validating documentation
From: Elna Tymes <Etymes -at- LTS -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 23 Mar 2002 17:09:03 -0800

Andrew Plato wrote:

And it sounds to me - and please correct me if I am wrong - that a lot of
writers want all the authority to control their documents but they don't want
the responsibility of making sure the information is correct. That's BS.

Well, Andrew, since you invited correction:

I can think of hundreds of examples where system changes happened at the last minute, sometimes by many people, without the knowledge of the writer no matter how diligent the writer or how involved the writer had been in keeping in contact with the SME's. The writers I've known - and the ones I've hired - have been for the most part honorable, responsible, adaptive, and resourceful people who did their best to keep up with swiftly moving targets. I can think of more than one occasion where one or more writers theoretically had access to the same release version of code (or product) as did QA, only to have some developer slip in another version with - obviously - undocumented changes without anyone or anything letting the writer know. I can also remember situations where QA noticed a problem, the writer affirmed with development that the fix would be made and wrote the docs accordingly, only to have development not make said fix. And on and on.

Writers may have authority - and responsibility - to write documents that correctly reflect a product, but when last-minute changes occur and the writer isn't told, how is said writer responsible for that part of the accuracy of the document? And don't tell me this doesn't happen often -- it happens all the time, despite the best controls and intentions.

One of the problems I have with your attitude about this, Andrew, is that you seem to assume that writers are a lazy lot, that they'll shirk responsibility wherever they can, and not try to fix the problem so it doesn't occur again. Funny, in 30+ years in this business, I have known maybe a half dozen writers like that, while the rest have been diligent, careful, and as thorough as situations allowed. Maybe you've just hired the lemons and I've had experience with the rest -- I don't honestly know why your experience is so different from mine.

To quote your own advice to you:

Improvise, adapt and resolve!<

Elna Tymes
Los Trancos Systems

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Re: Re; Validating documentation: From: Andrew Plato

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