Re: Request of Advice

Subject: Re: Request of Advice
From: Suzette Leeming <suzette -dot- leeming -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2010 12:04:04 -0400

Thank you for that response Kevin. Almost every help authoring tool I've
seen functions differently (sometimes requiring a different mindset), and
the answer when changing tools shouldn't be to "displace" the writers you
previously had and replace them with techwriters who have experience on the
new tool.

I currently use Help and Manual. If I switch to Flare or Doc to Help or AIT,
I'm going to need some time to learn the nuances of the new software. Does
the fact that I will not be up and running in a few hours with a new tool
mean that I am a crappy techwriter? Should I recommend that my company
dispose of me and hire someone who has experience with the new tool
(although I will guarantee that it will take someone months to fully
understand our very complex financial software suite)?

Suzette Leeming


On Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 11:48 AM, McLauchlan, Kevin <
Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com> wrote:

> John and Bill were saying:
>
>
> >
> > Amen, John. Amen.
> >
> > On Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 5:04 PM, John Posada
> > <jposada99 -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
> > >> Wouldn't it be something if you could buy software that required
> > >>little to no training, and caused little to no loss of productivity?
> > >
> > > You can.
> > >
> > > Hire experienced technical writers that don't require a learning
> > > curve. What you are paying for with new software is not the
> > CERTAINTY
> > > of needing training...what you are paying for is that your EXISTING
> > > writers cannot pick it up as soon as they pick it up.
> > THAT'S the cost
> > > of getting writers on the cheap.
> > >
> > > Bring in writers at a little higher money, with experience, and even
> > > if the writer never saw the particular application, you will get
> > > production in a very short time, maybw within hours.
> >
>
>
> HOWEVER... a writer who's never seen the particular tool
> before will necessarily bring to it the approaches and
> experience s/he's had with other tools.
>
> So, there they are, 7 hours after arriving at your
> company, dutifully cranking out their first page or
> two of Help, as they did it with Doc2Help.
> But they're using (say) Flare now, with no previous
> experience and a [n apparently] frantic deadline to
> provide some evidence of motion. (Gotta justify having
> displaced [former?] in-house writer[s].) So they start.
>
> Weeks later, it becomes apparent that there are some
> problems due to having used pliers as though they
> were a wrench. Considerable backtracking and fixing
> is necessary on dozens of pages. Stuff that the writer
> didn't understand about the Flare design philosophy
> has been bolluxed and must be rectified before the
> single-source stuff will work properly.
>
> Finding this out, and then finding out how to fix it,
> and then fixing it... turns out to take about as long
> as giving the displaced in-house writers a three-day
> training or access to (and time for) the Flare Webinars.
>
> Plus, of course, the disgruntled or dismissed in-house
> writer takes away her/his headful of years of experience
> and history with your products.
>
> - Kevin (playing devil's advocate)
>
>
>
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Request of Advice: From: s_borgioli
Re: Request of Advice: From: John Posada
RE: Request of Advice: From: Dan Goldstein
Re: Request of Advice: From: John Posada
Re: Request of Advice: From: Bill Swallow
RE: Request of Advice: From: McLauchlan, Kevin

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