RE: Users' documentation and QA Teams

Subject: RE: Users' documentation and QA Teams
From: Sean Wheller <seanwhe -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: David Locke <dlocke -at- texas -dot- net>
Date: Sat, 24 Jan 2004 03:29:48 -0800 (PST)

Hello David,

You have an interesting perspective, however I do
believe that the connotation I attach to the term
"Blame Annotation" is not the same as yours.

"Blame Annotation" is an integral component of most
revision and bug tracking systems. It function is to
enable identification of a problem at the source - the
user - who can then learn from the mistake and avoid
it in the future.

I have yet to find any development environment where
some level of "blame annotation" is not used. In all
these environments it has been perceived as a positive
and necessary part of control. I have never seen a
person fired because of it. Nor have I seen any
company use it to substantiate layoff or redundancy.

If you believe that a company that uses "Blame
Annotation" is guilty of the "Big Brother" syndrome.
Then first ask yourself if you're not just being

Even ISO process is a blame annotated system.

Here is a case study.

I recently met a graphic designer who did the DTP and
artwork for a school book. This book was sponsored by
a commercial company. As such the company was meant to
have its name on the cover. The artist was not
informed of this. When it came time for production, he
obtained the sign-off required. When the product was
delivered, the company sent the stock back to him.
They demanded that reprint all 75, 000 copies.

The artist was devastated. It would be financial ruin
for him. When he called me I asked him if he had
obtained sign-off. In his panic he had forgotten that
he had done so. I explained to him that he was not to
blame and that I did not think the customer had legal
recourse in this instance. This was later verified by
legal counsel and the customer had to accept. Legal
counsel also requested copies of all correspondence to
verify that at no point was this a requirement of

In this case the "Blame Annotation" was a very
positive thing for the artist. I don't think that the
customer could see it in the same light.

The system and procedure works. Perhaps if you're
employed then it's not as critical. If you're
contracting, it can be a life saver.

Sean Wheller

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RE: Users' documentation and QA Teams: From: David Locke

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