Re: Wording problem! Arrrggh!

Subject: Re: Wording problem! Arrrggh!
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- westnet -dot- com -dot- au>
To: Techwr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2011 09:30:06 +0800 (WST)

Marguerite said:
> Most places I've worked would NEVER admit to fixing a problem
> (because that would imply that their software was buggy to begin
> with!), but they would let us say that we'd made an improvement.
> So we could say, for example, "improved system response time...",
> but not, "fixed a problem where system crashed...."

Sad but true. Lots of management types believe that customers will dissolve into a blubbering mess if there's the slightest hint that the previous version had any bugs. Technical types really, really, truly just want to know what's changed, what's new and what's been fixed.

Opening up my own shame file for a second, a nice cuddly way to describe 'fixed bug that used to result in horrendous crash' is 'improved stability'. Similarly, dealing with random freezes and timeouts is really 'improved performance'.

It's helpful to technical types to group items under separate headings because often they're only interested in the highlights:
- Did they fix that obscure bug that doesn't affect most customers but is really killing us?
- Have they finally added the long-promised Eclipse support?
- Did they implement my suggested enhancement to the indexing dialog?

Busy people don't want to read a jumble of 50 mostly trivial fixes and improvements. Make it easy for them to skim.

Stuart
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