Changing tires at 60kph

Subject: Changing tires at 60kph
From: "Dennis Hays/The Burden Lake Group, Ltd." <dlhays -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 23 Feb 1996 18:34:50 -0500

I've been following the thread of writing doc for software in development
and have finally found the time to put in my "story." It's now Friday
evening here in upstate New York, USA, and I've put the doc away for the
weekend.

I started this project almost a year ago for the United States Dept. of
Energy. I'm the only TWer and started when the project started. The first
weeks, I read the functional specs and designed the look of the
manuals--System Admin, User Guide, and Reference. Then I sat on my hands for
3 months while the developers designed the screens (Oracle Forms40 stuff).
Finally, I got to write. So, I cracked my knuckles (an annoying habit!),
leaned into the wind, and on my government issued 486/33MHz, 17" SCO/Unix
box, typed the first words of the "real" doc. And then I found what the
project was all about.

As I said earlier on this forum, the first set of chapters--150 pages
worth--was tossed after the Project Leader decided he CHANGED HIS MIND!
(Ahem, sorry about the shouting--I'm better now.) Since then, I've found he
likes to look at everything six or seven times; a bona fide member of the
micro-management theory of project development. He, the absolute king of
passive, run-ons, makemanywordsintoone, has now started editing the
text--adding commas where he, wants, changing active to passive voice. All,
while involved in development, changing tires at 60kph. Any user material
I've written more than a month ago has changed. So, I'm writing in a state
of flux, running like crazy to keep up with the changes (I don't see any
SMRs/change docs crossing my desk), while dealing with this P.L. Thanks to
the contract deities, I at least make a fair living doing this.

So, today I sit in a staff meeting where the P.L. says the project is 3 or 4
months behind, but he's still scheduling Phase 1 out the door only two weeks
later than the original schedule (Meanwhile, I'm getting the white,
surrender flag out of my pocket!)

So, Monday morning, I'll grab a cup of caffeine, pull up my chair under the
ceiling littered with "Fixed Radiation Behind This Barrier" placards (I
didn't know there was such a thing as broken radiation.), crack my knuckles
and get back to rotating the tires while the car speeds up to make its
deadline...

More to come on the soap opera, "One Word is Worth Another" or "How I Left
My Sanity on th Highway of Life."

Pleasant travels all; and may your words be read...

Dennis Hays
dlhays -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com
Said the Raven, "Never More."


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