Re: craft vs. science vs. art

Subject: Re: craft vs. science vs. art
From: "Doc" <dlettvin -at- attbi -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 14:49:02 -0400


Phil Levy said:
If you mean that a bunch of writers each owns one document (one writer/one
document) then all I can say to indicate that you are wrong is that all doc
managers agree with you.

Shall we revisit that generalization please, Phil. Not that I'm unused to
being demonized but I know at least four doc managers who, like yours truly,
believe in communal development. They all have similar reasons:
It's more efficient.
It's more fun.
Fewer mistakes.
Better up-front analysis.
More manuals than writers.
Better control of deadlines.
Better quality assurance within the department.
Provides all writers with experience as lead.
Better shipping celebrations.

My department didn't miss a deadline for 10 products over a 6 year period.
We released simultaneously in at least 3 formats (paper/PDF, help and HTML).
For paper alone there were more than 60 full manuals produced during that
time. Total staff was five including me.

Because of our success rate, we were allowed to design our own office space.
What we designed was a modified lab. There were no cubicles. Our
workstations were laptops. Our desks were mobile carts. This let us move
around to work with different people or different test machines at different
points in the project. When not pounding keys or testing software, people
tended to gather at the central conference area where there was a large
table and several whiteboards.

There was one private office which was used for personal conferences and
phone calls.

Some might be horrified at this, but we had a blast. We made one hell of a

Not ALL doc managers are Dilberted up y'know.


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