RE: What do people work from - more

Subject: RE: What do people work from - more
From: "Partridge, Robert" <Robert -dot- Partridge -at- au -dot- unisys -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2005 09:19:39 +1000

A follow up from a member of our team of writers here:

"It is depressingly interesting to discover that we [the group here] may
be drifting down to the levels of other tech writing groups within the
industry. The one poignant comment was "You start with what you're
promised, demand what you need, and make do with what you get." I
believe that the problem stems from tech writers themselves (and tech
writer management). If we do not show self respect for our profession we
cannot expect to earn it from others."

"When we make do with what we get, we can't expect to get what we need.
A summary of all the comments sounds all too familiar to the scenario
that our tech writing team is facing. Progress is only achieved by
identifying and striving for high standards - so many people are
satisfied with comparing themselves to the worst and accepting that as
the standard. Some may say that my response is harsh and unrealistic,
but I believe it is better described as challenging and achievable."

He went on to say:

"It's not that I have been the recipient of functional specs (by
whatever name) as a tech writer, it's more my experience of programming,
and having to write my own docs. I have always followed the "classic"
approach. That being write the functional spec (FS), write the design
spec (DS), write the code, change the DS, change the code, or change the
FS then DS then code, write the docs from the FS and operating software.
If you do that it all actually works."

I have a feeling I know what you are going to say in response, and I've
already said as much to him. However, I'll ask anyway. Is it
unreasonable to expect (and ask for) a higher standard of specifications
from engineers? What happened to the rigour of producing an FS, then DS
and then code?


Rob Partridge


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