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

Subject: Re: How to make developers think you're one of them, Tip #382
From: Al Geist <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2003 21:56:39 -0800




Bruce Byfield wrote:


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.

Unfortunately, I have the opposite condition...developers who have no concept of versioning. The project I took over was a mess. I am documenting a program that has been in development for over five years and only recently has documenting the product been part of the plan. The previous writer left after 11 weeks after producing a couple of FrontPage pages and six pages of hard-copy. I think it was his manual, but I'm not sure. That was 12 weeks ago and although I've got the documentation effort on track, version control is still a major problem. Everything (upgrades, bug fixes, etc.) is done on the fly and I am constantly being bombarded with new ideas and new directions for documentation based on the latest magazine or e-zine article. Frustrating? You bet. (I am currently using RoboHelp X3 as a single source documentation tool.) But, my efforts documenting what they have accomplished so far has the added affect of convincing them that they are not working efficiently and exposed why they have a high turnover of contractors. (This is a government agency without normal market pressures.) Just when I was about to throw in the towel, grab a 12-pack of Miller and call it an experience, the lead developer walks into my humble cubicle and asks if I have any ideas on how to implement version control while still addressing bugs and needed updates. Well doggie....looks like my contract just got bigger. I think I'll go for Corona (with a fresh lime of course) instead.

--

Al Geist, Geist Associates
From Concept to Completion
Technical Writing, Publishing, Video, Web Design, Graphic Arts
Voice 907-317-3194 Fax 907-622-2321
www.geistassociates.com 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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References:
Re: Why are companies now requiring techical writer candidates to be SMEs?: From: Andrew Plato
How to make developers think you're one of them, Tip #382: From: Bruce Byfield

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