RE: Consequences of inadequate docs/training

Subject: RE: Consequences of inadequate docs/training
From: Kat Nagel <mlists -at- masterworkconsulting -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2002 12:26:26 -0500


At 8:28 AM -0500 3/29/02, Jim Shaeffer wrote:

You do not clean your gun while in the middle of a firefight. Why would
you ever change the battery in the middle of battle?
Obviously, the battery had to be replaced in the middle of a battle,
but how do we writers avoid such blind spots in documentation?
These blind spots occur in every kind of documentation, not just
the military.


One of my standard ploys, usually implemented over pizza on gotta-get-the-beta-out-by-Friday overtime pushes, is to start a "stupid luser" discussion with the developers. "Say guys, the new interface is really neat. Now, how is the user going to screw things up?" After a couple of beers, the discussion can be truly enlightening (as well as hysterically funny). Among all the absurd scenarios, there are always one or two situations that really could happen. I polish those up for my next meeting with the project manager. "Y'know, Tony's comment last night got me thinking. How can we prevent XXX if the user tries to YZ? We can put a Caution in the manual, but wouldn't it be better to [insert absurd workaround]?"

My suggestion doesn't always work---sometimes it isn't intended to---but it's always good for a laugh while the project manager or lead developer starts thinking about the problem.

--
Kat Nagel
Owner, MasterWork Consulting Services
Phone: (585) 820-4045 Fax: (585) 244-3565
Business: katnagel -at- masterworkconsulting -dot- com
Personal: katnagel -at- bluefrognet -dot- net
Mailing lists: mlists -at- masterworkconsulting -dot- com

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References:
RE: Consequences of inadequate docs/training: From: Jim Shaeffer

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