Re: As requested

Subject: Re: As requested
From: Len Olszewski <saslpo -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1993 10:18:18 -0500

Philip Bernick asks:

> Since an important part of technical communication is
> collaboration--an ability to collaborate--what are the ethical
> responsibilities that go along with that?

We deal in both multi-writer and single writer books here. Even on
single writer books, however, there is rampant collaboration with
editors, proofreaders, indexers, designers, and so on. This doesn't even
address the developers who write the software and (most of the time)
provide source material and subject matter expertise, or the technical
reviewers (from education, tech support, marketing, development, QA,
etc.), or the programmers and compositors who develop and maintain the
composition software and styles.

We give every individual who works on a book credit on the credits page.
But there's more to it than that. It's not necessarily an ethical
concern, but with so much varied involvement, there is a practical need
to work as a *team*. Since everyone gets credit, that pressure is gone,
and everyone can concentrate on performing the job.

I can't give a formula for creating that kind of team atmosphere, but a
definite requirement is open, regular, wide-ranging, non-threatening
communication in a variety of forums across and within department lines
throughout the company. Another requirement is a committment to quality
by all parties, and yet another is a respect (derived from knowledge)
for the roles individuals play in developing both the software and the

Ethically, I guess this means being unselfish with knowledge, supportive
of the team effort even when it seems unfair to you as an individual or
goes in a direction other than the one you want. It also means each
individual assumes the responsibility to raise objections even when
unpopular, but trust leadership when fair discussion is finished. it
means actively seeking to help in roles other than those assigned when
that's possible. From a project management perspective, it means
remaining loyal to your team members, advancing your project while
acknowledging and accepting all work from others to that end, and
pursuing fairness, efficiency and cost effectiveness, all at the same

I'm sure I could go on, but my screen is full 8-).

|Len Olszewski, Technical Writer |"Lady, I was TALKING to the duck.." |
|saslpo -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com|Cary, NC, USA| - Old Punchline |
| Opinions this ludicrous are mine. Reasonable opinions will cost you.

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