RE: Deadlines - Extend or Deal? (LONG)

Subject: RE: Deadlines - Extend or Deal? (LONG)
From: "Joe Malin" <jmalin -at- tuvox -dot- com>
To: "Mandy" <amanda -dot- barrientos -at- comcast -dot- net>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2006 10:19:26 -0700


Tell them what can be ready by the deadline. Make it clear that it's
*their* decision to either extend the deadline to accommodate the work,
or ship with what they've got. Be ready to give them a new deadline
based on what you think the doc needs, and also be ready to suggest a
closer deadline based on dropping some stuff.

Is this hardware or software? It's not clear from your message, although
my guess is hardware. If it is hardware, be sensitive to the timeline.
Hardware has to go through process engineering check-off, compliance,
manufacturing, etc., and those deadlines tend to be very hard and fast.

Also, are they counting on revenue for a quarter/year? If they are, they
may *have* to ship by a certain date. Be aware of that, too.

I think you are entirely professional for suggesting that the deadline
needs to be extended to meet the documentation needs. Software managers
do it constantly! You would be *unprofessional* if you pretended that
you could do everything by the deadline and then not achieve it.

Other notes:
* You are never going to get people to give you everything you need.
* You are never going to get people to give you stuff on time.
* You are never going to get people to think about what they really
* You are never going to be a hero for delivering the docs
* You are never going to be on schedule
* You are *always* gonna get schedule squeeze: you can't write the doc
until you know what the product is and have
something vaguely resembling it in your hand, and that never happens
until the last minute. If your doc doesn't have
completely boneheaded errors in it, you've done a good job!

So relax, get used to it, be flexible. Do your best. Learn to tell
people what the doc should be like rather than waiting for someone else
to tell you.

Tech writers without a tech background are at a disadvantage in the tech
world. Most of the other "builders" have a tech background; many of them
also have a high-tech business background. Don't let that stop you or
throw you. Stand your ground as a uniquely qualified and intelligent
technical professional.

Joe Malin
Technical Writer
jmalin -at- tuvox -dot- com
The views expressed in this document are those of the sender, and do not
necessarily reflect those of TuVox, Inc.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+jmalin=tuvox -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+jmalin=tuvox -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
Of Mandy
Sent: Friday, April 07, 2006 4:57 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Deadlines - Extend or Deal? (LONG)

I've been lurking on this list for about two months or so, but this is
the first time I've posted. I have to say first that the archives have
been unbelievably helpful - thank you, thank you, thank you!

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