RE: When they shouldn't be experimenting (was RE: Encouraging learning---g by experimentation?

Subject: RE: When they shouldn't be experimenting (was RE: Encouraging learning---g by experimentation?
From: Charles E Vermette <cvermette -at- juno -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 2002 08:49:14 -0500

/kevin asks:

<<<I'm in a constant, running battle to streamline my setup docs for
people who "just want to get on with it"...

If I leave out the "clutter"...I get reasonable-sounding complaints that
we must tell the users the information that they need in order to make
decisions... and to keep themselves out of trouble... and away from the
Customer Support line....

If I put in the "you need to know this" info, between the steps, I get
complaints that: "It's hard to follow. The
flow is interrupted. I want it all on one page..."

When possible, I herd them into a room and let them fight it out, and
simply present me with the consensus that they've achieved via democratic
or military means. But, it's not always possible. I think they're
catching onto my tactics...>>>

How do the rest of y'all deal with that particular dilemma?>>>

Short design answer: Sidebars and indents/bulleted lists. For online
docs, color coding. If set up correctly, it allows the user to see what
they need to see, and ignore the "clutter" if desired.

Short procedural answer: Write one topic with two/three different design
schemes. Show them to the various internal users. Explain that you want
to save time with a short deadline by deciding on a format before you
write 500 topics. Get consensus/sign-off on one. Then go to the wall if
someone waffles, emphasizing the waste of valuable time and resources.
I've ALWAYS found the wafflers back off.

Short political answer: there is no short answer to workplace politics -
and none that, given the zeitgeist of this list, I could say without
being misinterpreted. Given your past posts, I'd say your approach is the
best under the given the circumstances.

Charles E. Vermette
85 Washington Park Drive, Norwell MA 02061
e-mail: cvermette -at- juno -dot- com

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