Re: Who "owns" design documentation?

Subject: Re: Who "owns" design documentation?
From: Sarah Lee Bihlmayer <sarahlee -at- CONTENTMANAGE -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 12:40:27 -0700

Joe Sokohl writes:

>The product manager wants to be able to write changes to the design as
>they occur--and intimates that she wants me "to pretty it up" on
>occasion. My suggestion was
>* to define to doc along with her
>* create an info plan for the tech doc suite for the program
>* then define a content spec
>* _then_ to have her collect tech info & zap it to me electronically
>* I woul then organize, edit, & draft
>* she would _tech_-edit
>* I would publish electronically for all developers to use (Acrobat)
>* she would collect tech info (and here the cycle repeats)

>I'm afraid the devel community wants to simply write things out (in very
>conditional/exception-processing approach--if this, then that; if the
>one, then the other) and pass off to me for a "quick edit."

I've been in this exact same situation a dozen or so times, made precisely
the same suggestions, and encountered resistance. Each time around, I've
used the same very convincing argument to make and win my point. I agree to
let the developers write changes to the design as they occur--as long as
they let me do some of the development work also!

It seems that when I turn the tables and insist that the developers allow me
to do some of their work in exchange for allowing them to do some of mine,
they _immediately_ realize why we have different job descriptions and
responsibilities and back down. Apparently, the thought of allowing a
relative novice to perform a very complicated function is scary enough to
make them realize that I'm not qualified to do their jobs--and conversely,
that they're not qualified to do mine.

Hope this helps.


|Sarah Lee Bihlmayer * Intranet Documentation Specialist |
|Site Development * Content Creation * Content Management|
| Technical Writing * Developmental Editing * Indexing |
| 415-207-4046 * sarahlee -at- contentmanage -dot- com |

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