Re: The Covert Interview

Subject: Re: The Covert Interview
From: Dan Glovier <Mercury!tsh!dan -at- MCS -dot- NET>
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 1995 18:10:27 -0600


I've only been a tech writer for four years, but I have yet to
run into too many problems getting people to assist me in the
doc writing process. Maybe it's because I'm lucky, and the people
around me realize that solid documentation is a necessity.

However, I would like to point out one aspect that hasn't been hit yet
(or maybe it has, my mail is a tad on the slow side). The responses I have
read have a bit of the "us against them" attitude. I just become "one
of them." Whenever one of the developers is working on a project, I ask
how it's going. If they have had trouble with a certain function, I ask how
they fixed it. Now, whenever they do something they think is really neat, they
ask if I have a minute for a quick demo. Not only do I get a jump on the
project, but they are more than cooperative because I've kinda been there
with them.

Also, if you can't have a "covert" conversation, I found the greatest
tool to set up interviews: e-mail (or is it E-Mail, e-mAIL, email... :)
With a little bit of planning, you can have them set up some time that
is convenient for them. For some reason e-mail seems to work better
than the notes in the in-bin routine.

On a side note, it seems that when cooperation is lacking, it is due to
time constraints more than a fear of being interviewed by the documentation

Oh well, it's getting late, I'm tired, and I'm rambling,

Dan Glovier
dan -at- tsh -dot- com

"Who ever heard of fair, there's really no such thing.
Who ever heard of fair, not me.'"
- "Who Ever Heard of Fair" The Scapegoats

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