Re: Strategy for Getting Information

Subject: Re: Strategy for Getting Information
From: Kim Keegan <keegan -at- EXPLORERS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 17 Jul 1996 14:27:39 -0700

This is my third attempt at responding to your message. I reread your message and go
through stages of sympathy, bewilderment, and rage.

I suppose holding your breath while rolling around on the floor until you are given a
copy of this application (or a means of accessing it) is not an option. :-)

The first part of your strategy, should be to explain to the resource person's manager
that quality documentation can't be written at the drop of a hat. Be thankful for the
"time" that has already been provided by the resource person (RP). However, IMHO, you
really need access to this application in order to fully explore the features and
processes on your own. (Personally, I look forward to my chance to "break" the system
by finding flaws). For instance, when I document a custom database application, I am
able to access exactly what the developers have produced on the development/test system,
complete with test data. I add, change, and delete dummy records to my heart's content,
do queries, sorts, reports.... I am able to do all my own screen shots. To do without
full access would be like trying to complete a crossword puzzle without any clues.
Having to rely too heavily on someone else would make me feel like a potty-training
toddler waiting for my mommy to wipe my ****.

In other words, I feel that lack of access is your single biggest problem. Can you
suggest alternatives for access? It is a platform problem? Is it only installed on
certain machines, which during normal working hours are occupied by other co-workers?
Then what about flex-time or altering your hours in order to be able to use one of the
"chosen machines"?

Until you have "at-will" access you will probably continue to be a drain on the RP's
time - how can this be cost-effective? Is the RP's manager your manager as well?
Doesn't your manager have any say in this matter?

I'm sorry to say that I don't have a strategy to solve your situation. I put my stress
on solving the underlying problems of no access and overcoming the "documentation takes
too much time" mentality. For future projects, state up front what you will need to
produce quality docs and how long you think it will take under those conditions.
Anything less will result in poorer docs in the same amount of time or quality docs in
more time.

I think I have said enough. I need to get some work done before I go home and continue
work on potty-training my son. :-)

Kim Keegan
aka keegan -at- explorers -dot- com
Visit my homepage at

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