Re: Knowledge of subject matter

Subject: Re: Knowledge of subject matter
From: John Fleming <johntwrl -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2004 18:27:34 -0700


On Wed, 24 Mar 2004 13:12:41 -0800, while chained to a desk in the
scriptorium, cm -at- writeforyou -dot- com ("Chuck Martin") wrote:

> $
> $"Edwin Dahlquist" <Edwin -dot- Dahlquist -at- asu -dot- edu> wrote in message
> $news:233477 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-
> $<snip>
> $| Finally, one of the most important conceptual leaps a TW can make is to
> $| understand that the "customer" is different from the "end user;" TWs write
> $to
> $| satisfy the person who pays them to write, not necessarily to illuminate
> $Sam or
> $| Suzy Homemaker about the proper procedure for using a DVD remote. Write
> $for the
> $| customer, not the end user, and most problems disappear.
> $
> $And who will pay the costs or additional technical support and lack of
> $repeat business when you don't document for the end user?

I think this just brings in a sales issue.

The guy who is the customer is the guy who is paying us to write the
manual.

There may be a very big difference between what the customer wants, and
what the customer needs.

The customer may want low cost documentation to bring a software project
in under budget and on schedule. Think fast turnaround with little or
no SME review and minimal editing.

What the customer needs may be a more expensive solution that helps the
end users use the product--cutting down on support costs.

As professionals, we need to be able to distinguish between what the
customer wants and what the customer needs. If there is a significant
difference, we need to be able to persuade the customer that our
proposed solution is more cost effective in the long run. That and
persuading the customer that we are the best people to provide the
proposed solution.

John Fleming
Technical Writer
Edmonton, Alberta

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