RE: More on Validating documentation

Subject: RE: More on Validating documentation
From: "Carey Jennifer (Cry)" <jennifer -dot- carey -at- cdi -dot- cerberus -dot- ch>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2002 16:43:20 +0100

Eric asked: <<So, in your experience, are relationships with developers
really as non-existent or dysfunctional as some threads on
TECHWR-L would suggest? Is there really no sense of
"we're all working together to make this overall product
as good as we can make it"?>>

I am happy to say that as far as I can remember, I have never had to work
with hostile or disrespectful SME's. But, I also worked on a lot of short
term projects as a consultant for many of the years that I have been a tech.
writer. Because of that, the issue of becoming a part of the team never
really came into play. It was obvious how busy the developers were, so I
always tried to be as informed as possible before finally sitting down with
them. Even in the more cynical cultures (such as at the US Postal Service),
people still tried to help me as much as possible.

Now I am working in a place that has never had an in house tech writer
(everything had been outsourced prior to my arrival). I have seen that
people aren't used to thinking about me as a part of the team, or about
documentation at all. But they don't give me the impression of undervaluing
my work or anything of that nature. They certainly have their own pressures
and priorities, but they have always been willing to make time for me.
Basically, when I make it clear what I'm trying to do and what I need from
them, they've been extremely responsive. It's been a learning process for
all of us but I do feel that I'm becoming more and more a part of the team.

The key for me has always been to be proactive. In the jobs that I've gone
into, documentation meant listing the features. Nobody expected any more
from me. I could easily get away with sitting back in my cubby and doing a
really average job. Nobody really cared or put much thought into it. But
when I try to raise standards or try a new approach, I've had a lot of luck.
People seem to understand and appreciate it and most of them do what they
can to help.


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