How to make developers think you're one of them, Tip #382

Subject: How to make developers think you're one of them, Tip #382
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2003 20:43:21 -0700


I've just finished the second day of my first on-site contract in over a year. Is it a sign of the times, that the writer/trainer is rooming with the CEO - or a sign of a company with crowded offices? ;->

Part my work is forensic: digging through what the previous writer left behind and trying to make some sense of it so that I can evaluate the current documentation and training needs. Another part is to put these areas on a solid footing. This afternoon, I e-mailed the sysadmin lead about the possibility of setting up a CVS tree for documentation. Within minutes, he was in my office, discussing setup. "I've never met a technical writer who understood technical work flow, " he said. The previous writer, he said, had refused all suggestions to set up any sort of versioning arrangement,and spent so much time downloading informational articles about how to use Acrobat and FrameMaker that the last version of the company product shipped without documentation.

Being the modest sort that everyone on the list knows me for, I pawed the ground bashfully, blushed manfully, tugged my forelock shyly, and said, "Shucks, t'aint nothin'."

But I can't help reflecting that if such a little thing as versioning control can win over a developer, the expectations for technical writers' knowledge must be painfully low.

--
Bruce Byfield bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com 604.421.7177
http://members.axion.net/~bbyfield

"I have never yet known a man admit that he was either rich or asleep: perhaps the poor and the wakeful man have some great moral advantage."
- Patrick O'Brian, "Master and Commander"



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Re: Why are companies now requiring techical writer candidates to be SMEs?: From: Andrew Plato

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