A NEW TOPIC (please read this too!)

Subject: A NEW TOPIC (please read this too!)
From: Paul Beck <Paul_Beck -at- 3MAIL -dot- 3COM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 1993 13:33:00 PDT

"Any ideas of what we can do to a) bridge a cultural, gender, and
generational gap and b) get people used to us?"

Kate and others;

This gender, generational gap thing is something that I have run across over my
18 years as a technical writer. I have worked with a variety of human beings
of high caliber and others who fit a range of disfunctionality. Keeping a
positive attitude is your best attitude. After all, you got the job, you have
the experience, you have the curiosity to figure it out, and you have the drive
to make it all come together to add value to the product which you are

Depending on your corporate or academic structure, one of the best ways to
bridge any gaps is to be available. By that I mean don't let that one or two
crotchety old tech writers or the "so damed intelligent that I could type a
manual out in a week let alone 3 months" upper management or engineer type
force you into your office or cubicle by intimidation. Get out into the open.

Visit the other departments where you can get the most information for your
task at hand on a regular basis. Marketing, Engineering, Customer Service,
Test Technicians in Manufacturing, Document Control, Quality Analysis and
Quality Engineering should all be your friends. After all, you have to
interface with these people to get the information you are presenting to your
users so they might as well see a smile and know something about you as a
person. Not everyone is open to being a visible person, but it works for me.

Also, you seem to be in an environment which hasn't had much to do with the
publications personality nor do they understand the processes. Give a
presentation at a meeting on how you plan to organize, what you expect from the
person's affected and with whom you will interface. Have reasons for doing
things a particular way, and give the message that not only are you interested
in doing top-notch work, but are will to change if better ideas come along.
But not at the last minute just before the manual goes off to the printer.
Good design is good planning.

There are a multitude of presentations you can give, but by the judicious use
of writing/editing process flowcharts that show the tie-in to the engineering
and marketing schedules, you can show that you are not a separate group but an
integral part of the product developement process and that you will be in the
same phase of development as the rest of the team.

Believe in Smart Work and Hard Work. Add Teamwork to that and you've just made
the naysayers your allies.

For what it's worth!

Paul L. Beck

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