Re: "Structured writing = commodified writing"

Subject: Re: "Structured writing = commodified writing"
From: Debra Kahn <kahndebra -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Keith Hood <bus -dot- write -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2014 12:48:02 -0600

Agree with Kevin. I've often compared this mentality by management to a
similar concept (going back a few years) that coders should be judged by
how many lines of code they can produce in a day. What you might end up
with is a mess of spaghetti code - containing many more lines of code than
is necessary - that is a test engineer's worst nightmare.

To stretch the analogy to DITA and structured writing for a minute - If you
provided me a coding tool that allowed me to use my native language
(English) to create lines of code - a snippet at a time - for a larger
system, you're still relying on my neophyte coding capabilities to
interpret the user requirements into something that is useful for them,
that meets the rules/structure of the tool, and that can be compiled
successfully with other snippets created by other - more experienced -
coders. The assembly is still reliant on the quality of the piece-work.

Yes, planning helps. Having a good tool helps. Having the training, skill,
and motivation to produce quality work also matters.

BTW, I once worked in a group that judged my performance not only on the
number of product change notices I produced in a month (really?) but also
on the number of "Thank yous" I received from the sales force during the
month (OMG!). So been there, done that, know how to play that game!

My 2 cents,
Deb Kahn

*Debra Kahn**, MA, PMP, CA-AM*
debra -at- dk-consulting -dot- co *or *kahndebra -at- gmail -dot- com
Business: 970-541-0888
http://dk-consulting.co


On Wed, May 21, 2014 at 10:26 AM, Keith Hood <bus -dot- write -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

> If anything reduces technical writing to a commodity it's not the tools we
> use, but the attempts by management to reduce this work to something they
> can order by the day like potatoes or coal. The real earmark of
> commoditization of writing is the concept of pages per day - trying to
> reduce writing to some kind of tangible product that can be quantified in
> terms of items per man hour as if writing was just a different type of
> assembly/delivery stream.
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Follow-Ups:

References:
"Structured writing = commodified writing": From: Cardimon, Craig
Re: "Structured writing = commodified writing": From: Keith Hood

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