Re: Users writing their own procedures

Subject: Re: Users writing their own procedures
From: Dick Margulis <margulis -at- fiam -dot- net>
To: "Mike O." <obie1121 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2004 13:07:05 -0500

Mike O. wrote:

Nothing wrong with this approach... except the "have me fix them up" part;
I'd make 'em use the stuff raw.

After all, they are the SMEs for those procedures... It might turn out just
fine. Of course, sometimes SMEs write stuff that makes sense only to them.
Tech writers, on the other hand, are burdened with the responsibility to
make sure their docs make sense to everybody.

Either way, I'd take it with a smile, then wait and see. Review it six
months from now and see if they are still happy with this approach. Let us


Different strokes and all that, but I prefer the fix them up approach myself. Here's why:

1. If they find the crap they wrote to be satisfactory at the six-month review, then they don't need no steenkin' tech writers. A bad thing, by my lights.

2. I use the fixing up as a teaching opportunity. I don't try to turn the SMEs into writers, but I do point out that tech writing is a discipline that recognizes a fairly well defined approach to procedure writing. Then I point to some of the salient differences between their rough drafts and the finished procedures. The point is to encourage them to avail themselves of my services in the future, rather than just shooting out badly written ad hoc documents to customers.

As for Eileen's approach of using a Front Page template, I dunno. I think Word is probably more familiar and convenient, and I want them to focus on content. Notepad would work even better, except they'll probably have screen shots they want to include.


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