Re: More on Validating documentation

Subject: Re: More on Validating documentation
From: Tkritr -at- aol -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2002 20:15:07 EST

In a message dated 3/25/2002 7:59:31 AM Mountain Standard Time,
ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com writes:

<< 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"?

If so, are _you_, as a tech writer, part of the solution, or part of the
problem, or both? Why? >>

I've been a tech writer for ten years <every time I say that, I can't believe
it>, both as a full time employee and as a consultant. While many of my
fellow tech writing co-workers have regaled me with their horror stories
about working with developers, my experiences have been completely the

The first developer I worked with as a consultant completely spoiled me. He
actually told me to just ask him a question when I had problems, and would
pretty much drop everything when I did. I never thought that would happen
again, but time after time I have met developers who were great and wanted to
help as much as possible.

Honestly, though, I do believe that how developers respond to me has a lot to
do with my personality and how I approach my job. I love being a tech writer
and I'm interested in technology. Developers do respect me more than other
tech writers they have worked with, and have specifically told me that it was
because I understood what they were talking about.

Why is knowing what you are writing about important and part of the solution?
Because you don't have to ask for all-encompassing explanations, because you
don't waste as much time (yours or the developers), and because (in my
experience) it is the fastest way to gain respect and get the information
that you are requesting.

Communicating with the developers is as much a part of my job as
communicating the technology back to end users. The communication is just as
challenging today as it was ten years ago, except now I have more experience
and confidence to back me up.

Have a great week everyone!
Kirsten Petersen
technical writing consultant

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