Re: The Covert Interview

Subject: Re: The Covert Interview
From: Sue Heim <SUE -at- RIS -dot- RISINC -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 1995 13:00:16 PST

In response to Tom Williams' post regarding the use of "covert"
interviews, Sue Gallagher wrote:

> I often find it useful to just "hang around" on the fringe when
> programmers are discussing concepts/problems/techniques. They
> rarely even notice that I'm there. By evesdropping on these
> conversations I can often gather most (if not all) of the information
> I need. If I really need more clarification/information, I can begin
> by saying, "The other day in the hall..., so I was wondering if that
> included..." Starting my query that way gets them back into
> conversational mode and we're off and running.

Did I giggle when I read this!! My beloved boss decided that I needed
to be in the "thick of things" (so to speak) and my office is right
smack in the middle of the programming area. Thus, if they are
discussing anything at all, I get to hear about it (including those
things of which I care to know nothing!!). This usually works out
pretty good, but talk about feeling all alone on an island...!!

My other preferred method of obtaining all sorts of good info is to
deluge with compliments!! "Wow!! You guys did a great job!! I just
love the way you designed this!! This is totally awesome (remember,
I live in Southern California!)! Can you spend a few minutes with me
so that I can be sure I understand all the really great things you
can do with this program?" When it starts to get ankle deep (and
you've indulged egos enough) they usually cooperate!!

From another one,

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