RE: The End Of Technical Writing

Subject: RE: The End Of Technical Writing
From: Tony Markos <ajmarkos -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 2004 15:45:12 -0700 (PDT)

--- Bonnie Granat <bgranat -at- granatedit -dot- com> wrote:

Tony Markos said:

The major part of the required work in any
systems-related tech comm project is coming up with
a comprehensive understanding of the essential end-
user tasks and how all those tasks interrelate.

Bonnie Granat responded:

That's what "technical writers" *do* ....

Tony Markos said:

I strongly disagree! I've work on numerous tech comm
projects - east coast, west coast, and mid west. I've
always experienced basically the same thing: TWs - or
Business Analysts for that matter - may sometimes
informally do something that can kind of be called a
loose task analysis - but nothing really
comprehensive. Present party excluded of course:-)

Maybe, Bonnie, you have experienced different; but, I
have seen it happen the same way in Los Angeles,
Cleveland, and Boston; and I can not help but believe
that this is the way it happens in other places.

Tony Markatos then said:

There are many interesting facets of task analysis!

Bonnie Granat responded:

They're usually unique to the specific project.

Tony Markos responds in turn:

I was referring to really fun things like
interviewing, negotiating, modeling, and larger scale
risk taking! Such (should) occur in any project.

Bonnie Granat said:

"What 'old way'? Unless you analyze the tasks, how
can you teach anyone how to perform them?" in response
to Tony Markos stating:

"Actually, once you have experienced the sense of
accomplishment that results from a successful task
analysis, the old way of doing tech comm is no
longer satisfying!"

Tony Markos responds:

I am very fond of using Data Flow Diagrams in a Task
Analysis. (This is a top-down alternative to Dr.
Hackos's fundamentally bottom-up approach - but just
as valid.) On larger systems, one task analyst
properly using Data Flow Diagrams can run circles
around a small army of competing task analysts using
the traditional informal approach. Been there, done
it, more than once. Now, when, for political reasons,
I have to back off and do things the old informal way
- boring!

Tony Markos

**Caution: Properly used, DFDs are very powerful;
but, they are also very dangerous.**

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