Re: The Covert Interview

Subject: Re: The Covert Interview
From: Laura Johnson <lauraj -at- CND -dot- HP -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 16:01:20 GMT

shall -at- hilco -dot- com wrote:
: > 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

: Sue makes a point I forgot to make in my earlier post on the subject
: of covert interviews. About 9 months ago, a fellow tech. writer and I
: were placed in the Product Development department.
: I was shocked at the amount of cooperation we now receive as a result of
: being perceived as a part of the team (instead of being an
: outsider). I still don't know why organizational barriers existed,
: but they did. Now I benefit from being in the
: same department as my technical SMEs.
: --

Yep, me too. Some months before I came to this division of HP, it was
reorganized into cross-functional "product teams". When I moved in, my
desk was in the middle of the programmers' desks, my manager was their
manager, they were the first people I met. I eat lunch with them. I
take coffee breaks with them. I barely have to "interview" anybody at
all. If the conversation moves in the direction of something I'm
documenting, I just stand there and ask my questions: "Oh, hey, I
didn't realize the fromulater works that way with the garbonzer. How
does that relate to the hooberdoober, then? ...And the bug you're
talking about, that's in the garbonzer too? ..." Since it's usually
Engineer A explaining his stuff to Engineer B, he's perfectly happy
to explain it to me too.
Laura Johnson
lauraj -at- fc -dot- hp -dot- com
Hewlett Packard NSMD
Ft. Collins, CO

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