RE: Documentation problem

Subject: RE: Documentation problem
From: "walden miller" <wmiller -at- vidiom -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 13 Sep 2002 09:32:42 -0600

I am not sure where the ethical dilemma resides. There is no doubt that
this is a screwy situation, but that is SNAFU.

If you feel very strong about the risks of doing it the way the change
manager wants you to, then I suggest spending about 2 hours (max) to write a
coherent risk analysis of the project as you see it and then meet with the
change manager to explain your position.

Then do it her way.

Tech writers can not save the world. We must raise the red flag when we see
trouble, but if your manager wants a manual about how to make toast then
write a manual about it. It might be moronic, but it isn't worth the fight.

IF you feel that you have to do it your way, then find a solution that
allows you to do both and pad your schedule so that both can be done. BUT
get your manager's task done first and to her satisfaction.

I am not talking about just being a brown-nose. There are fights worth
fighting and fights that take more time to fight than to actually do the

Finding roadblocks is normal. Being discouraged to actually talk to your
audience or your SME's is normal. Fighting the good fight is normal as
well. Don't give up, just make whatever improvements you can wherever you

As for requirements, All projects should have requirements, parameters,
scope, etc. Most writers make up their own. If you think the requirements
person is infringing on your job, then you write up some requirements (in
requirements language) and hand them to the RE as a jump start and then ask
to help develop the requirements. At my current client site, the RE's have
discovered that all my writers do a better job at getting requirements that
they do. SO... instead of hiring more RE's, we are hiring more writers.

People learn at their own rate. But if you push them hard, they don't learn
at all.


She's also having a requirements person write requirements for an addition
to the "manual!" Isn't requirements usually written for software, or do
people write formal requirements for info added to a manual?

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