RE: Academic Research in TechComm

Subject: RE: Academic Research in TechComm
From: eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2005 14:01:13 -0400

bounce-techwr-l-106467 -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com wrote on 03/31/2005 11:04:44 AM:
> In this case, why bother striving for high quality in tech
> communication? Mediocrity seems king...

> Eileen Neumann
> Business Rules and Procedures

That's taking the argument to a ridiculous extreme. It is a simplistic and
defeatist statement.

Mediocrity is NOT king. What is king is making a profit or an acceptable
return on investment in the market niche your product is trying to fill.

If "excellence" in the car world is defined by having all-round air bags,
a top safety rating, and a complete electronic entertainment package, even
many of the top-of-the-line cars would fail as "mediocre".

While it would be great if Corvettes could be perfect off-road performers,
the Corvette isn't "mediocre" because it can't go off-road. Could it be
redesigned to do so? Sure. Porsche had the Cayenne. But why don't ALL
Porches perform well off-road? Simply because there are trade-offs,
compromises, contradictory requirements, and an overall budget envelope to
work with.

Same goes for documentation. You MUST work within your budget and
allocated resources. If you documenting a Chevrolet product, you create
Chevrolet documents. Simple as that.

Now, if you can make improvements without having effect on the budget and
meet all the primary audience requirements, fight for change. But, if it's
outside the primary business goals and its not got a good ROI, forget it.

An engineer at Chevrolet that keeps trying to up the design of a mass
market entry-level car to super-car specs is NOT going to be appreciated
by their superiors and it has nothing to do with whether their profession
is "valued" by management.

Eric L. Dunn
Senior Technical Writer


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RE: Academic Research in TechComm: From: Neumann, Eileen

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