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

Subject: Re: YOU are responsible, even when YOU are not to blame
From: eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2003 11:32:33 -0400

>>Looks like there is a bit of life left in this thread...

As long as you keep giving it CPR. :p

>>I don't agree, and here's why. If you (that's a basic, general, all-purpose
>>plural "you" rather than a finger-pointing "you" - I curse the shortcomings
>>of the mother tongue) are truly responsible for the documentation, then what
>>for heaven's sake is going on at the project meetings? The deliverable
>>schedule is there, and you see Final User Guide Due May 1. But on the next
>>line is Update Parameters User Interface Due May 10. That's a disconnect in
>>the whole structure. (And yes, this precise thing happened to me on Tuesday
>>of this week. I saw that the User Guide and Final System Documentation for
>>a large project is due in early May, but the final revisions to some modules
>>is due later. That can't work. I pointed this out. The project managers
>>looked at each other, then at me. "You're right," they said, and the
>>schedule was revised.)

And thus the reason so many discussions of this nature go wrong. One member uses
either their work experience or a hypothetical scenario to demonstrate their
point, another uses their completely different work environment/scenario to to
show the point is invalid.

Guess what, differnet scenarios, different possibilities, different outcomes.
What is really irritating is that that's all any of the differing oppinion on
this and many other threads tries to point out. It's like patriotic crap. Try
and temper a point of view one tiny bit or challenge some hyperbole and you're
labeled and attacked as an anti-*****.

IF you attend project meetings, IF the project is completely planned out, IF the
plan is followed exactly as written, IF changes are correctly communicated, IF,
IF, IF.... The diverse experience on the list should serve to prove situation
where one or more of these or other points have failed. In the scenario above,
everyone on the list will probably applaude Paul's luck and the wonderful
planning at his workplace. But Paul's work place is not our workplace, and the
largest supporter of responsibility is also the most vehement attacker of the
type of constrained planning environment that is making Paul's workplace so
great. Yet, the discussion runs on with different people arguing vehemently from
different points of view. Like the old example of blind men argunig over the
description of an elephant with each man at a different end.

To that add the general mixing and interchanging use of terms,
responsibility/blame/scapegoat being only some, and the inflammatory rhetoric
used. Then add the general tendency to presume the worst of fellow members on
the list (the idea that suggesting a manager actually manage means that the
writer never even tried any other methods AND that all management equals heavy
handedness and 'bossing' around).

Then the fact that the majority (ALL) of the thread ignored the point of the
referenced article after one member hi-jacks the thread with their own person
gripes and prejudices. The ensuing meta-argument about ownership, fault, causes,
responsibility, and blame has been rediculous because noone seems to be able to
stick to one definition or one point of discussion.

The opening salvo was:

>>Inaccuracies are 100% the direct fault of the author(s) and editors. And 99.9%
>>of the time its because those writers and editors do not understand the
>>technology they are documenting.

Which really makes the debate just stupid because:
1- It's impossible that 100% of all inaccuracies are the DIRECT fault of anyone.
All projects are team efforts and all tasks are interdependant in some manner.
2- Even the author of the opening salvo has stated Responsibility does not equal
Fault/Blame. Although they seem to do nothing more than blame in most posts.
3- The real stinker in the bit above has been more or less ignored. The dust of
the bones of the long dead horse should have blown away long ago on this
particular recurring insult of techwriters at large, but this personal gripe
rears its head at EVERY opportunity. And seeing as it seems to be placing a HEAP
load of blame (you don't understand the technology) it makes the circular nature
of the whole mess rather ironic/Machiavellian.

Eric L. Dunn

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