Re: A NEW TOPIC (you can read this)

Subject: Re: A NEW TOPIC (you can read this)
From: Fred M Jacobson <boole!fred -at- UUNET -dot- UU -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 1993 16:40:50 PDT

> You don't say how your writing team fits in with the structure of the
> company. Are you in the same department as engineering, or are you in
> a different part of the heirarchy? ...

This and the attitudes it may represent are very important for your
satisfaction and effectiveness. If the engineers think they build the
product and then "throw it over the wall" to the tech writers and
marketing types, they don't know what a product is.

> Above all, don't trivialize your job -- the user manuals are as much a
> part of the product as the product itself.

Here the writer has unknowingly fallen into the trap! The software (or
whatever) is _not_ "the product itself." It's the software. If your
coworkers talk about the documentation _for_ the product, explain to them
that you are producing the documentation _of_ the product. Certainly
someone in your organization sees the bigger picture: If you have more
than a handful of users, better documentation reduces total costs by
reducing support costs. It also increases user satisfaction. Maybe you
can get someone with influence to attempt to engender this larger view
into the engineering group. You must adopt it yourself and try to understand
the contribution that the engineering, marketing, training, documentation,
support, and field staffs make to the success of your product and organization.

> nancy ott

-Fred Jacobson
Product Center Technical Writer
Boole & Babbage Network Systems
fred -at- boole -dot- com

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