RE: Definition of "User-Friendly" Was Re: Engineering design practice

Subject: RE: Definition of "User-Friendly" Was Re: Engineering design practice
From: "Bob Colwell" <bob -dot- colwell -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 20:53:52 -0700

I dunno Gene. I think there's a crucial difference between the
way engineers organize themselves and the way tech writing is done.
There's an organizational hierarchy to engineering projects, at
least any that are a) well-managed and b) of nontrivial size and
complexity. There exist principal engineers or chief engineers
at the top of that hierarchy who are responsible for doing what
you label "developing" below, and the team below them does the
nuts and bolts work you call "design".

In some sense, you're right in that the engineer at the top is
supposed to have gotten there because he or she has demonstrated
their ability to create well-conceived products, and drive their
team so as to deliver those products on time. The part I'd quibble
with is that the engineers at the hierarchy's leaf nodes have
neither the time nor the responsibility to work at the platform
architecture level. Perhaps some of them wouldn't have the ability
if they tried, and very probably many wouldn't yet have the
experience to do platform arch successfully. But they shouldn't
have to; that's the job of the chief engineer. (If he is screwing
that up, then they have the responsibility to pipe up about it
but that's a different discussion.)

When tech writers organize themselves into hierarchies (and
you know what freezes over) I think you'd see the same


-----Original Message-----
From: bounce-techwr-l-161096 -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:bounce-techwr-l-161096 -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com]On Behalf Of Gene
Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2005 8:12 PM
Subject: Re: Definition of "User-Friendly" Was Re: Engineering design

Well, that's the difference between those who practice good engineering
and those who get it right. :)

We often go off on tangents here about writers who have technical skills
vs those who don't, but in engineering there's a similar schism between
those who can "design," as in write some code or spec out a widget, and
those who can "develop," as in start from a blank sheet of paper and ten
years later sign the obsolescence ECO for a product that's made the
company a consistent profit throughout its lifecycle.

Gene Kim-Eng


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Re: Definition of "User-Friendly" Was Re: Engineering design practice: From: Gene Kim-Eng

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