Re: Tech Writing Problems

Subject: Re: Tech Writing Problems
From: Lori Lathrop <76620 -dot- 456 -at- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 1995 19:18:29 EST

I'm writing a user's guide for a software product that's being developed
for a government agency. The development team is small: one programmer,
one SME, the contract manager, and me. The programmer and I both live in
Colorado, but we're separated by about 100 miles (and the Continental
Divide!); the SME and the contract manager are in DC. If you've already
guessed that the problem has something to do with communication, you're

The problem: getting the programmer to answer the questions in my first
draft. I made my questions as conspicuous as possible; they are
sprinkled throughout the text in thick-lined boxes and the words
"DEVELOPMENT NOTES" centered on the first line of each box). When I gave
him a call today (after not hearing from him since giving him the draft
two weeks ago), his response to my request for feedback was, "Oh, it's
great! Just what we needed!" I then asked him if he could respond to the
questions I'd written as DEVELOPMENT NOTES throughout the draft. His
response was, "Ah, well, um, questions? Can I call you back tomorrow?"
I'd be willing to bet my bottom dollar that he won't call me back

I *will* get him to provide the answers I need; however, I'll probably
have to get the contract manager to rattle his cage. I hate having to
resort to that strategy, even tho' it's an effective one.

There! I feel better now with that off my chest ....

Lori Lathrop ----------> INTERNET:76620 -dot- 456 -at- compuserve -dot- com
Lathrop Media Services, P.O. Box 808, Georgetown, CO 80444
(Author of _An Indexer's Guide to the Internet_, published by the
American Society of Indexers, P.O. Box 386, Port Aransas, TX 78383)

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