RE: SMEs/QA don't have time to review the documentation

Subject: RE: SMEs/QA don't have time to review the documentation
From: "Hemstreet, Deborah" <DHemstreet -at- kaydon -dot- com>
To: "SB" <sylvia -dot- braunstein -at- gmail -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 30 May 2008 09:48:27 -0400

Hi Sylvia,

This sounds like a typical problem of a growing company. At the company
I used to work with, I began as the lone writer, doing everything. My
bosses were pretty much ineffectual, and my length of time with the
company led to me becoming an SME in my own right. No problem as long as
you are small with one product and LOTS of time to do everything...

However, that began to change and my life became pretty much what you
describe. I did, however, have the pleasure to see this all change, when
the following things happened:

1. My boss was the head of QA/RA and had clout. He was a buck-stops-here
person. People argued with me, I sent them to him.

2. People were informated by project managers at the BEGINNING of the
project that they would be assigned owndership for chapters in the
manuals. Once this became an official responsibility, they started
checking the work.

3. When I left, Software had STILL not been officially ordered on the
project plan to provide me with ALL of the changes in the SW no matter
how minor, and the FULL list of errors, messages, adviseries, etc - so
they still would not cooperate. The manager there said, when they add
this to the product development plan, I'll be able to justify asking for
another person so that we can provide you with all this (it was a lot of
work in his point of view).

4. At the end of the day, people won't find time for a lot of things. I
was at that company for 10 years. By the time I left, the last 2 years
of my documentation included sign-offs with comments like, "I trust you,
whatever you wrote will be OK." I made sure to cover my butt by putting
this in writing to my manager and advising that I do NOT take
responsibility as I was not part of the development team, and had no
information on changes to be able to verify that my understanding of the
changes that I saw was 100% correct. I kept (and keep) EVERY SINGLE
email communication, no matter how trivial, and file by date, project,
sender, etc. People did not like that I could use their emails against
them, but they worked....

Message: You MUST keep your immediate supervisor apprised of your
situation. Hopefully they can fight for you. If not - who CAN fight for
you? Is it someone better qualified to be your boss? Can you handle the
company politics to try and get your boss reassigned (as I did)? Who is
in charge of the product development plan? Does that plan include the
manuals and related responsibilities? If not, this is a good starting
point - get them to add it to the plan - then time HAS to be made.

Document EVERYTHING you do, and keep all emails that pass the buck to
and in other ways verify what you are saying - these will help you when
the finger pointing starts....

And smile! I am guessing that you (and I) are not the only ones going
through this frustration... And you will get lots of additional helpful
tips from others.

You will survive to write another manual!

Have fun?!!!



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