Re: More on Validating documentation

Subject: Re: More on Validating documentation
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2002 11:14:12 -0800

Eric J. Ray wrote:

Is there really no sense of
"we're all working together to make this overall product
as good as we can make it"?

I've had good relations with developers far more often than not. However, I've noticed in many companies that developers are a community to themselves. I've seen startups fragment along the techie/non-techie divide. I've even seen CEOs and CTOs with strong programming credentials have to fight to win the respectof developers. Part of the reason for this situation may be geek mystique, the same kind of attitude that dismisses someone who prefers a GUI to a command line.

However (and I say this with no malice whatsoever, just observation), I believe that the main reason is that many programmers really don't care about the product as such. All that they want to do is write interesting code. Finishing the product or meeting deadlines aren't major priorities to them.

Of course, not all programmers are that way. The exceptions usually wind up as team leaders or CTOs.

But, on the whole, developers are a closed community of introverts. By comparison, writers are extroverts. Therefore, as ill-equipped as most of us are by any other standard to make such an effort ;-), the writers are the ones who have to make most of the effort. They need to educate the developers on how to work with them, and have to make the efforts to be accepted.

Anecdote: since I started being involved with Linux, I've found that my relations with developers have improved immensely. Even if the developers aren't involved with Linux themselves, the fact that I've written articles about configurations seems to give me instant acceptence. When I mention my background, I can see the developers relaxing. Other people, with interests in some technical subjects have said much the same thing to me. I strongly suspect that gaining techie cred and letting it be known early in the relation is one of the easiest ways to get along with developers. It tells them that you are, at least faintly, one of them.

Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

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