Re: list squabble

Subject: Re: list squabble
From: Al Geist <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 05 Apr 2003 14:20:00 -0900

While I don't always agree with Andrew, I do this time. I've been following this thread since the beginning and what I see is Andrew saying that as professional (writer, technical writer, flower arranger, whatever) you have to accept a level of responsibility. I'm currently the lone technical writer on a project where documentation is viewed as a necessary evil. Does it bet. But, their lack of enthusiasm for documentation rests partially with the previous writer who sucked up 11 weeks of the contract, produced absolute garbage, then left without warning. (He called back a week later to offer his services on a remote basis.) It's been 12 weeks and I've delivered a 150 page illustrated draft Reference Guide and on-line context-sensitive help application (using RoboHelp X3). The program is changing constantly, so keeping everything 100 percent accurate is difficult at best. If a mistake is found, I acknowledge it, fix it and get back to business. Anything else would be unprofessional. After over 20 years in this business, I have found that people who focus on fixing the blame (rather than fixing the problem) are often part of the problem. Because of my efforts, I am now accepted by the SMEs and developers and we are exploring the possibility of me doing periodic upgrades after the contract ends and creating a on-line tutorial. Both the upgrades and tutorial will be done out of my home office which will soon be located several thousand miles from the work site.

What does it matter if Andrew no longer works as a technical writer? Does that make his comments any less valuable? Someone brought up Dr. Demming...he's not a technical writer either, yet value was placed on his thoughts. The question that needs to be asked is why do some people take Andrew's comments so personal? The answer is they shouldn't if they are professional. However, I can tell you from the contract I took over that there is at least one of those non-professional "it's not my fault" writers out there.

Al Geist, Geist Associates
From Concept to Completion
Technical Writing, Publishing, Video, Web Design, Graphic Arts
Voice 907-622-2320 Fax 907-622-2321 al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com <mailto:al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>
"When the situation is absolutely hopeless, you have nothing to worry about."
Compliments of The Monkey Wrench Gang

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Re: list squabble: From: Andrew Plato

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