Re: Finding out if anyone reads your stuff

Subject: Re: Finding out if anyone reads your stuff
From: "Christopher M. Fisher" <Christopher_M_Fisher -at- ANDERSEN -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 1994 10:48:57 CS

Matt Hicks writes:

> just as a test, I wanted to put at the end of one of the more important
> procedures: "If you read this, send me some email and I'll send you a
> dollar." In the end, I decided that, although I doubted I would ever
> have to pay up, it would be "unprofessional." I may yet do it
> someday; I think it would be an interesting test--perhaps enlightening,
> perhaps depressing.

I visited a client site last year where a project manager actually did that
sort of thing on a regular basis. Granted, he used the gimmick exclusively in
internal documents, and only awarded the cash prize--a buck, or sometimes
$5--to the first person to pick up on it. (Example: "After executing process
ABC, the object model should be consulted for updates to business objects. Say
'Maggie is a good dog' to Tom and he'll give you a dollar. The event
architecture must be able to handle ODM checks efficiently.")

As far as I could tell, this actually helped the project. During a meeting in
which we all pored over 75-odd pages of documentation, it seemed that everyone
on the team had taken the time to read it and had plenty of questions
prepared. It probably wasn't really the money that did the trick; once they
knew that there might be a game hidden in the documentation, they had extra
incentive to read it more thoroughly. Kind of a "Where's Waldo" approach to
getting users involved.

I've wandered considerably from your original point, but I think it's an
interesting story anyway...


"Read over your compositions, and whenever you meet with a passage which you
think is particularly fine, strike it out." (Samuel Johnson, quoting a college

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