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Subject:Re: Learning/researching phase of writing From:Len Olszewski <saslpo -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM> Date:Fri, 20 May 1994 10:34:24 -0400
Erik Larsen talks about research methods:
> I'm curious how folks on the list tackle the learning/research phase of
> What do you find most beneficial: Interviewing developers, hands-on
> with a beta product, looking at actual code, design specs, etc.?
> What works? I'm asking because I find interviewing developers is the least
> efficient and most frustrating. But maybe that's just me. :-)
You might want to consider why you aren't having any luck with your
interviews. If this is the *only* avenue you use to gather information,
you should consider making it a *supplementary* avenue for gathering
All of the items you list *in combination*, plus any other source of
information you can identify (beta site customers, marketing reps,
software consultants, course instructors, tech support, bug reports,
etc.) should feed your research. *You* have to pursue the information,
separate the relevant from the merely interesting, and bring everything
together into a coherent gestalt. That's what they're paying you for.
I've found that interviewing SME's works best *after* I've done all the
preliminary research possible, and I've already identified areas that
only the SME knows, so I can focus here, knowledgably and relentlessly,
in an interview. I let the SME know in advance what I'll be asking, and
I'll *interrupt* the SME during explanations to give me time to write
everything down, and ask for clarification as necessary.
And do ask about everything you don't understand. The most stupid
question is the one you never utter.
|Len Olszewski, Project Manager | "Not everyone who snores is |
|saslpo -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com|Cary, NC, USA| sleeping." - Source Unknown |
| Opinions this ludicrous are mine. Reasonable opinions will cost you.|