Re: Finding out if anyone reads your stuff...

Subject: Re: Finding out if anyone reads your stuff...
From: "Derrel Fincher, 1-713 275-8581, HPC-Dowell SCP" <dvfincher -at- SLB -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 1994 10:40:04 -0600

Jerome Yuzyk writes:

--------stuff deleted------
>Sounds pretty fascist, I know, and mostly suitable for large packages.
>But, it seems to me that something like this would be in the best
>interests of a software producer, especially for large, complex
>packages, and especially in these days of instant griping via the 'net.
>I follow most of the available groups for OS/2, Novell, and the Mac, and
>I have to estimate that over half the message traffic generated is due
>to the laziness of the user population in these days of instant
>gratification a la 100+ channels on TV. Having supported a good several
>dozen major apps over my lifetime, I know that the doc writers have
>responded very well to the public's gripes about inaccessible
>documentation. Unfortunately, users haven't held up their end of the
>bargain, and with the net it's all too easy to complain about the
>software when it is in fact the laziness of the wetware that is to
>blame, as I'm sure most of you know all too well.
------------stuff deleted--------------->

This reminds me of a philosophy I learned from the V.P. of Manufacturing and
Engineering shortly after I became a Manufacturing Engineer. (Exegenisis:
The products we designed and manufactured were sold to and used only by our
field organization. I had over five years of experience as a field engineer
using these products before I became an ME. In the field we always
complained about the quality and attitude of our manufacturing
organization.) The V.P. was fairly new to our company, but he had been
hired (against normal company practice of promoting from within) because he
had a vast manufacturing background. One of his habits was to have monthly
project reviews where each engineer presented the status of his project.
This project review also allowed the opportunity for engineers to get
decisions made that could take much longer otherwise. (By the way, the V.P.
never criticized people who made mistakes as long as they acknowledged the
mistake and showed how they were correcting the mistaked.) During one of
the first monthly project reviews I attended, and engineer was talking about
the a modification they had released to the field organization to fix a
problem, but the field organization was having problems installing it
because they weren't following the instructions. The dialog went something
like this:

ENGR: "...and we sent the instructions with the kit but they aren't
following them."

V.P.: "We screwed up."

ENGR: "But we told them how to do it over the phone also and they still
don't follow the instructions."

V.P.: "We screwed up."

ENGR: "But we have talked to them and sent them instructions and they
still screw it up."

V.P.: "If the field screws up our product, it's our fault."

ENGR: "Even if we train them and give them instructions?"

V.P. "It's our fault if the field does not use the product as intended.
We either didn't specify it right, design it right, or build it right. But
if the field screws it up--regardless of the reason--it's our fault."

ENGR: "But..but..but.."

V.P. "It's our fault."

A light bulb went on in my head. What a unique concept--taking
responsibility for your designs and, furthermore, having enough confidence
in your abilities and designs to accept the blame if your customer has a
problem, any problem, with your product. I now live by that rule as much as
possible. I also get some strange looks when I tell the field organization
that if they screw up something that we delivered to them, it's our fault.
Even if they don't read the instructions.


Derrel Fincher
Section Head, Pump Products Tel: (713) 275-8581
Stimulation and Completion Products Department Fax: (713) 275-8552
Dowell Schlumberger, Inc. SINet: DSNVXB::DFINCHER
PO Box 4610 || 115 Industrial Blvd. INTERNET: dvfincher -at- slb -dot- com
Houston, TX 77210 || Sugar Land, TX 77478

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