Re: new kid on the block (long) Take TWO

Subject: Re: new kid on the block (long) Take TWO
From: Bill Swallow <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2005 13:46:21 -0500

You wrote:
One thing is, as I am revising and updating some of the existing
documentation and having it reviewed, the reviewers (QA) complain that
some of the information is inaccurate or lacking. So I put in the
updated information, clarifying and adding whatever might be missing.
Then when former writer gets a hold of it, he chops most of it out
saying "There is no need for this. No one reads the documentation
anyway. It was better the without this information." I realize I may
be dealing with some ego here and admit that nothing I do will ever
make former writer as happy as he was when he was doing the writing.

I respond:
You need to toss this writer's ego aside and look at the facts. The
facts are that QA has found the information to be inadequate and that
takes precedence over the former writer's feelings about it all. So
far I see an argument of substance on your side, backed by QA in fact,
and an argument of opinion on the former writer's side.

You wrote:
Also, boss-wise. I attempted to sit down with boss (title: project
manager) my first month to get an idea of what was expected, up-coming
projects, and maybe discuss how I could like to handle documentation
going forward or at least where it might fit in with product releases.
(I didn't do it in a pretentious way; I was just trying to figure out
how to survive). He basically told me the company motto "Just roll
with it." He told me to have former writer review everything, so I'm
kind of stuck with that right now. He also didn't want to give me any
idea on upcoming projects because "things change around here so fast,
I don't really know what you'll be doing." When I asked about
documentation practices he told me "we don't want to get bogged down
with procedures or processes (two P words I guess). Just roll with

I respond:
Well that's an issue. A project manager who doesn't want to manage the
project! That's something that needs to be dealt with on a different
level, and not by you directly.

You wrote:
The other thing, (sorry this just gets longer and longer) I hear
around here that is different than I'm used to is "It is better to
have the product released BEFORE we start working on the
documentation. Documentation is a luxury only." This has come up when
I've asked about being part of the product developement cycle from the
beginning and working in conjunction with alpha, beta and final
product releases. Is this normal? I'm not used to trying to play catch
up with the documentation when the product is already to the customer.
There are loads and loads of products out there (this is software)
with no documentation at all. Boss says they are an estimated two
years behind in documentation. Frankly I don't see how this is going
to change with the way things are.

I respond:
Sounds like a start-up mentality. Is this a small shop? Releasing docs
after the product has shipped helps the customer 0%. They have to
wrestle with the product and rely heavily on support (do they pay for
that as well?) until docs come around. Hmmm... Could be the company's
business model, in which case I'd have a problem working there.


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new kid on the block (long) Take TWO: From: J C

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