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----- Original Message -----
From: "Kat Nagel, MasterWork Consulting" <mlists -at- masterworkconsulting -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Sent: April 06, 2003 06:19 PM
Subject: Re: About responsibility and fault
> C'mon, people. Think about it.
Yes. When I really think about it, I think about the plant manager whose
company produces a low-quality product. It may be the best low-quality product
he can produce, but he or she is still limited by the vision and resources of
the plant owner, and the product is a loser. No plant manager is able to "rise
above" the facts of low-quality raw materials, bad design, and other
production factors. Similarly, no technical writer can "rise above" being the
inheritor of the vision of management. Where documentation is viewed as part
of the product -- which it is -- everybody gives their utmost to create a
great product. Where documentation is *not* viewed as part of the product,
even their peers (as we have seen) view them as worthless sludge.
Errors in documentation? Stop beating up the poor technical writer and blaming
him or her for the inadequacies of management. Perhaps that's why some
technical writers feel so forlorn. They are beating themselves up instead of
finding and eradicating the source of the problem.
Sure, there are some airhead technical writers (I have known a few), but I
think that in many cases they are *made* by the environments in which
documentation is an afterthought.
The problem is with management, as I see it, although there are some writers
who will botch things up even in the best of circumstances. Again, that is
management's fault and moving one's body through the door is the usual way of
solving that one. Bad management hires bad writers. Bad management *keeps* bad
writers. Bad management bad-mouths bad writers instead of looking at itself.
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