RE: More on drafts --

Subject: RE: More on drafts --
From: "Sean O'Donoghue-Hayes (EAA)" <Sean.O'Donoghue-Hayes -at- ericsson -dot- com -dot- au>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 12:15:45 +1000

Hi gang,

Right!! Time to kill this discussion - or at least that is usually what
seems to occur when I communicate my opinion.

What we are talking about here is education. Simple as that.

The manager is NOT, in my humble opinion, outside the bounds of business
etiquette in picking up a document in any form and shape and reviewing it.
They are there to manage. The fact that the person isn't there to explain
the state of the document can be addressed when the manager is next around -
as did occur.

The manager being upset at the document is an education issue. This is how I
do my work, this is "meant" to have errors in it. I am addressing those
errors and misconceptions by documenting them in this state. With the SME's
I shall review this document, and shall edit it myself. Reviewing it at this
stage is usually premature, however thanks for the comments I shall see how
they can be applied as we work towards the final document.

You must educate the manager in your way of working, if this is different
from the culture at that company then the manager should educate you - the
technical writer - in their expectations.

Do I care that someone has reviewed a draft and said there are errors? No, I
expect a "draft" or "development" document to have errors. I might prefer
that no one saw how many errors, or incorrect assumptions I begin with,
however I have found you tend to be judged on the work you put in to get the
document right, and the final product, rather than the draft.

Relax, and remember, it is ONLY a draft! If there is some major problem with
the overall structure of the draft, or with the material contained inside
that draft - it is GREAT that the manager has reviewed it at this stage. How
do you defuse the manager's apparent anger that there are errors in the
draft. Explain that it is a work in progress. Explain that you have not
self-reviewed the draft. Explain your process for self review (for example,
"you beat me to it, I was going to review it today - Monday - that's why I
left it on my desk. I always find that a few days away from a document can
make me sharper and more analytical on editing the document.") and find out
if the manager expects it done in a different manner.

And finally, is it impolite to remove the document from your desk without
asking you first. Maybe. But who cares - it is WORK. You expect your work to
be reviewed, to be seen, to be commented upon. So the manager got to it
before you would have liked them to, if you have not got a review process in
place the manager may not know what stage the document is at or when it is
to be reviewed. The manager may think it doesn't look that dis-similar to
many other documents that are reviewed.

As a generic statement: "Move on, and smile. Educate your manager, allow
yourself to be open to other ways of working, to other cultures of working.
If they don't like this document, fix it. Aim higher on the next. Create
expectations, learn expectations, and develop their expectations. Then meet
those expectations. Life isn't that hard as a technical writer, and tomorrow
is another day.

regards and thanks,
Sean O'Donoghue-Hayes

sigline "To dream the impossible dream, to climb the unclimbable mountain,
to review the unreview----able document....."

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