Re: YOU are responsible, even when YOU are not to blame

Subject: Re: YOU are responsible, even when YOU are not to blame
From: Andrew Plato <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2003 00:50:35 -0700 (PDT)

"Jan Henning" wrote ...
> > Lastly, "detailed analysis" of processes is not always an efficient
> > use of
> > time,
> Blaming the writer for everything isn't either. And Steve's suggestion
> to look for detailed causes for errors offers a much better chance of
> actually avoiding them the next time around than a blanket statement
> "many writers are font fondlers".

Nobody has suggested blaming the writer. The concept that has been repeatedly
discussed was the writer taking responsibility for errors.

However, there are plenty of writers who qualify as "font fondlers." And those
of the font-fondling persuasion like to find ways to shirk their
responsibilities and blame others for documentation problems. This usually
involves finding some mechanism to justify their inability to do their job.
Sometimes they blame the very mechanism they built. This is my personal

1. Writer builts elaborate documentation process
2. Docs are crap
3. Writer blames process and demands time to analyze the processes and repair
4. New processes, same crap
5. More analysis
6. More processes
7. More crap

You cannot replace intelligence with process. Or, more specifically, a process
is only as good as the dweebs that use it.

> In short, Steve's suggestion is truly professional: When noticing that
> something's wrong, he doesn't look for somebody to blame but instead
> for a way to fix it.

As has been repeatedly described, its not about blame, but responsibility.

Steve's suggestion has some merit, but it muddles two concepts. Neither one
directly addresses responsibility. Those two concepts are:

1. Fixing errors: this is a specific task, changing something from incorrect to
correct. Simple.

2. Preventing future errors: this is a more generalized process where a
organization or process is analyzed for deficiencies or weakness. This is not
the same as merely fixing and error. This process has a time and place. I also
noted that such activity should be restricted to looking for patterns, and not
drawing conclusions from single events. Hence, a single error (even a single
document) isn't sufficient to serve as a template for "finding root causes."

The problem is that analyzing a system based on a small number of errors isn't
a productive use of time. Errors are a natural and normal part of any complex
system. Therefore, the amount of analysis has to be compatible with the gravity
and scope of the errors. Some missing content or mixed up text isn't grounds
for a 19 week indepth process analysis. It wouldn't do anything other than seek
out a scapegoat.

Andrew Plato

Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Tax Center - File online, calculators, forms, and more

Purchase RoboHelp X3 in April and receive a $100 mail-in
rebate, plus FREE RoboScreenCapture and WebHelp Merge Module.
Order here:

Help celebrate TECHWR-L's 10th Anniversary starting this month!
Check out the contests at
Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday TECHWR-L....

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: Re: Who cares about ethics?
Next by Author: Re: YOU are responsible, even when YOU are not to blame (long)
Previous by Thread: Re: YOU are responsible, even when YOU are not to blame
Next by Thread: RE: YOU are responsible, even when YOU are not to blame

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads