sanity check--please!!

Subject: sanity check--please!!
From: Jlrcgn -at- AOL -dot- COM
Date: Tue, 12 Mar 1996 16:06:13 -0500

Dear fellow tech-whirlers--

I work for a small engineering consulting/software development
company and need to get your opinion on whether or not i'm crazy or
the management team here is just totally whacked out (working as
the only tech writer will do that to you!!)

Last week my co. started schmoozing with an insurance company here
in town who wants to outsource their whole IS department. Our mgmt.
team (3 mbrs) hung out all week at the insurance office, gathering info.
on their software and hardware systems and figuring out how bad the
situation there really was (as it turns out, pretty bad). They took tons
of notes, and funneled them to a person here to type up. A major proposal/
presentation was to be due on Friday (3/8) based on these meetings. I was
not invovled in any of the meetings and did not see any of the notes, just
knew something big was coming down the pipe.

On Tues, they handed the person typing the notes an RFP (which was as
clear as you can get--6 major bullets asking for prices for each). On
Wed, they started meeting here at our office and said "Janet, whip up a
proposal from this..." To which I responded, "What information do you have?"
I got the notes from their meetings and the RFP. No matches between the
two whatsoever. The only thing in the meeting notes were general blurbs
about what the insurance company does--the propsal needed exact responses
to specific requests (like how much will you charge for developing this
particular piece of software that must do these three major things).
I said--I NEED INPUT!!! (the total $ amount ended up at $800,000--a proposal
for which does not just fall out of thin air!!!) After hours on end of the
management team arguing about stupid, irrelevant crap, on Fri. they sat down
and
threw out some numbers that "looked good." Needless to say, they didn't allow
any time for printing a copy of the proposal (once I knit together the
sparce details available at that point) and ran out the door 5 mintues before
the presentation was due.

I realize that proposals are a "last minute" affair by definition, and
that stress is a huge, unavoidable part of technical communication, but now
the management team is saying that I "added no value" to their proposal
process!
WHAT?!? Excuse me, don't you need to have at least some information to be
able to
write a proposal?!?

Please let me know if you have experienced a similar situation and how you
handled it. I have been here about 10 months and am finding that total
lack of information flow and blaming people after the fact is the mode of
operation. Will i find this same scenario everywhere?

HELP!
Thanks for any help/comments/hints you can provide for a sanity check!
Janet Renze

jlrcgn -at- aol -dot- com


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