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This is the private reply I sent Wanda. I sent it privately because I did
not want the "ladies" kicking my head in with their jackboots.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Christine Kent [mailto:c -dot- bkent -at- bigpond -dot- net -dot- au]
> Sent: Sunday, 30 March 2008 11:32 AM
> To: 'Wanda Phillips'
> Subject: RE: Hurdles
> Yes, as you predicted, it's almost impossible not to wade into one of
> these discussions.
> This is the point I reached. I say you, but I mean ME.
> Your primary priority is NOT to write good documentation. Your primary
> job is to manage your manager so that you are able to manage your own
> workload. You have to manage their expectations about what is possible.
> If you have a good manager this is not difficult, and you can move on
> to your second priority. If you have a bad manager this can become an
> ongoing operation of manipulation or passive aggression, depending on
> how bad they are. So you need to learn to enjoy it. I have seen many a
> technical writer get massive satisfaction from revenge.
> Your second priority, is to manage your own self-imposed expectations
> within your own workplace constraints. A quality product is not
> measured in absolutes. It is measured by what is achievable by you in
> the circumstances, and only you know that in your own case. If there
> is no reward for unsustainable hours except burnout; if it doesn't win
> you money, promotions or brownie points, don't do it. If you deem it
> wise to look as if you are putting in those excess hour, play the game.
> Learn how to put in the hours when someone who matters will see it and
> note your diligence. Again, this is all easy if you have good
> management, but if your manager is not protecting you, then you have to
> protect yourself.
> Your third priority, once you have produced a product to your own
> definition of what is achievable in the circumstances, is to control
> your manager's perceptions of how well you have done. It may be that
> your manager is only capable of understanding page count and typos, so
> you may decide that all you can do in the time is produce 500 pages of
> very well punctuated meaningless pap. If you have a quality manager,
> you can produce a quality product. But you have to make your own
> judgement about what will please them, based on their limitations.
> Now, if you are very lucky, you have a superb manager who has given you
> a realistic workload and the luxury of high quality standards, in which
> case, you can now turn your attention to the last priority, the user.
> What would they like, what would be usable for them?
> Unfortunately, on all too many projects, usability is not an
> expectation or a quality parameter.
> If you cannot learn to enjoy and get personal reward from manipulating
> your manager, and if you cannot adjust your own product output
> expectations down below your own definition of "fit for purpose" then
> you have to move on to a job or a project or a career change where your
> own sense of pride in your own work output DOES match that of your
> ...And all this good advice from a person who failed to be able to do
> any of this. I could never change my priority from delivering quality
> product to managing the perceptions of management. So I had to move
> into territory where they matched.
No virus found in this outgoing message.
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Version: 7.5.519 / Virus Database: 269.22.1/1350 - Release Date: 30/03/2008
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