Re: Seeking counsel - yet another difficult work situation

Subject: Re: Seeking counsel - yet another difficult work situation
From: Dick Margulis <margulisd -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 06:55:52 -0500

Robyn Richards wrote:

There's the rub. Not only is it impossible to plan (requirements change on a daily basis, sometimes several times a day), any requests to even discuss a process are ignored.

Okay, let's begin here.

A beggar approaches the Dalai Lama and asks for some change. The Dalai Lama smiles beatifically at him and say, "Change comes from within."

What Peter is suggesting to you is that change comes from within. In practical terms this means that first _you_ have to decide that you're in charge before others will respect your leadership on documentation issues.

The easiest way to do this is to stop requesting time to discuss a process and instead call a meeting to discuss a process. Use Outlook's calendar feature or whatever other system you use internally to designate the appropriate individual or individuals (at least some senior development folks) as "required attendees" and include senior execs on the invitation list as optional attendees.

As for the conundrum of how to make a plan when requirements change daily, the essential element of your plan is going to be a metric of the rate at which requirements change and the staffing level required to address that number of daily changes. You're not planning in the sense of writing an outline for a document; you're planning in the sense of managing the situation as it is.

I once requested that development changes
be forwarded to me by email and told I was being 'harsh' - this despite the fact that in order to collect the infomration I needed, I would have to get a new build of a product daily and search for each change manually myself. This presumably was not 'harsh'.

Again, the secret here is not to request (nor to demand, either), but rather to assert. Developers have mail groups (however they're defined in your mail system) with which they share information significant to the development team. Just insist politely that it is important to add your name to any such group so that you are kept abreast of changes that affect you. Point out that this will cut down on the number of interruptions from you and make you much more effective. Mailing lists are not secret societies.

If you have a system administrator who controls these mail groups, just send that person an email politely instructing that you be added to the appropriate groups, and CC the development manager. This is much more efficient than writing to the development manager and asking that he or she contact the admin to get it done; that can take months.

The rest of
it is up to you. After you've made your case for what
has to be done, hire some good writers. There are
plenty of us right here in TECHWR-L ready to work for
you if only you'll lead us.

Were I in a position to hire, I would definitely be looking at TECHWR-Lers.

Hiring budgets come from approved plans. Create the plan. Call your meeting. Present the plan. Get it approved. Do the hiring. Hint: companies often have caps on the number of employees in any given function, because there are accounting guidelines that drive those caps. However, if you can demonstrate a need for a given number of warm bodies you can generally get authorization to bring in contractors. Contractors are expense items, not employees.

We'll even teach you how
to be a good boss and how to get those SMEs to answer
your writers' questions.

Thanks for the offers.



RoboHelp X5 is a giant leap forward in Help authoring technology, featuring all new Word 2003 support, Content Management, Multi-Author support, PDF and XML support and much more! View an online demo:

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archiver -at- techwr-l -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Send administrative questions to lisa -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Re: Seeking counsel - yet another difficult work situation: From: Robyn Richards

Previous by Author: Re: Horrible Situation
Next by Author: Re: Dilbert - English Degree
Previous by Thread: Re: Seeking counsel - yet another difficult work situation
Next by Thread: Re: Seeking counsel - yet another difficult work situation

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads