Re: TW on the development team (long)

Subject: Re: TW on the development team (long)
From: Karen Mayer <Karen_Mayer -dot- TOUCH_TECHNOLOGY -at- NOTES -dot- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 1996 11:24:03 EST

-------------------- ORIGINAL MESSAGE TEXT --------------------
<snip>

Although I had made significant contributions to other projects
within the same company (redesigning a user interface completely to
accommodate a different target audience, contributing to the design
of the user interface for another product), I was totally shut out
of the design process because of my occupation, not because of my
demonstrated abilities or declared interests. Autocratic decisions
were made about the user manual against my recommendations. All in
all, it was a terrible experience.

The purpose of my post was to see whether others would confirm my
bad experiences or counter with good experiences of their own, Gary.
Your contribution is of dubious value.



-------------------- END OF ORIGINAL MESSAGE --------------------


I have had similar experiences. It seems that many people don't think
documentation is
important (until they're ready to ship and realize they don't have any).
Try as we tech writers
might, sometimes we just can't seem to find out when those meetings are
or get that
piece of information the engineers get. And we really do try!

At my last job, one very complex product had about 10 documents shipping
with it. The
manufacturing department was having a hard time packaging everything so
that the
documentation would not damage the equipment en route to the customer(!).
So we
sat down to decide how to reorganize the documents to reduce the number
of pages,
and I had a good plan. (The company was too cheap to buy a CD writer, so
providing
docs online was out of the question.) When the marketing department and
engineering
department got involved, however, they decided to hire a consultant (who
had never
been a tech writer, BTW) to evaluate our doc set. Despite my protests,
they decided
to go with the consultant's recommendation, which increased the number of
docs to 12
and added nearly 200 pages.

Where I work now, most managers and engineers have enough respect for the
writers
to let us do our work. They may make suggestions (some of which are good
ones), which
are always welcome, but most are not qualified to make our decisions for
us.

-- Karen


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