RE: Why'd that take so long?

Subject: RE: Why'd that take so long?
From: "Jane Carnall" <jane -dot- carnall -at- digitalbridges -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 24 Jul 2002 17:54:46 +0100

Hi Martin,

I've got every sympathy for you, but I don't think there ARE any easy
solutions to this.

I think you need to take it to whoever is your manager - *your* manager, not
the product managers. Tell whoeveritis the problem, the way you told us,
maybe cutting out the professional details about WHY the current docs are a
freaking nightmare: Just that (a) you're swamped with work (b) the feedback
you're getting indicates that even when you THINK you're doing a good job,
you're NOT. (Assuming that the product managers get to specify what kind of
documentation they need, then it's your job to supply it.)

This is not (in any reasonable company) your fault: what you need is for
someone who is senior to you and to the product managers to establish what
your job is. Keith Cronin says it sounds like they want content and they
want it quick-and-dirty, and I concur - but under those circumstances, I
think it's wise to establish exactly what they MEAN by "quick" and "dirty".

Basically, you have three people to please:

1. Whoever signs your paycheques. What do THEY want?
2. The product managers, your internal customers. Do they KNOW what they
want? If so, are you providing it?
3. Your own professional standards of quality!

If keeping your job is all that matters, then that's the order you work in:
but the ideal job is if you can please all three. :-)

If the product managers know what they want, and specify it, and whoever
signs your paycheque agrees with them, then I fear your professional
standards of quality may be outnumbered. You can fight a rearguard action,
but you will probably lose.

If the product managers/your paycheque signer want it good but don't
understand why good takes time, then you have to slog through TechWriting
101, stage by stage, day by day! Good luck.

Jane Carnall
Josh: "Come quick! Sam's getting his ass kicked by a girl!"
Toby: "Ginger, get the popcorn!"
Apologies for the long additional sig: it is added automatically and outwith
my control. Home: hj -dot- carnall -at- virgin -dot- net


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