RE: Pleasing a Manager

Subject: RE: Pleasing a Manager
From: HALL Bill <bill -dot- hall -at- tenix -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2002 16:28:28 +1000 (EST)

Doc Writer says,

"[He/She] can't please [His/Her] direct manager. He thinks that he is the
best writer since Shakespeare! The other day, he reviewed a white paper that
I wrote. He came in to my office, plopped it on my desk and said, "This is
AWWWWful." He wasn't kidding. He said it has no beginning, no middle and no
end. It's poorly organized and doesn't flow. Then, he proceeded to ask,
"what is it about?".

I had a similar problem with my thesis adviser when completing my degree. He
read my thesis, and came back with "I don't like it, do it over"!!! He was
completely unable to explain what it was he didn't like.

I eventually overwhelmed by committee with data and more data, so I earned
the degree. But then, several years later as I was writing the research for
publication, one of my ex research assistants went so far as to accuse me of
being "unscientific". I took up his offer to rewrite the work - and when I
saw the result it was clear the problem was fundamental. It took another two
years research into epistemology and the philosophy of science to work out
that had used a different research paradigm than my readers expected, and
none of us had the philosophical background to realize that there were such
things as paradigms that needed to be understood and explained before work
done in one could be understood from within the other. Thomas Kuhn's book on
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions explained the communication
difficulties. [If anyone wants to explore this further, search the archives
for "paradigm" or "paradigms"].

Perhaps that is the trouble Doc Writer is having. When you get complete
incomprehension for something you genuinely think is well written, this
could be the source of the difficulty. If you understand the concept, and
can apply it to your work by understanding the differences between the
developer's paradigm and the user's paradigm, you can be a much more
effective writer.

Bill Hall
Documentation Systems Analyst
Strategy and Development Group
Tenix Defence
Nelson House, Nelson Place
Williamstown, Vic. 3016
Tel: +61 3 9244 4820 (Direct)
+61 3 9244 4986 (Office)
Mailto:bill -dot- hall -at- tenix -dot- com
Information is not knowledge
Knowledge is not wisdom
Wisdom is not truth
Truth is not beauty
Beauty is not love
Love is not music
Music is THE BEST
(Frank Zappa, Packard Goose)

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