*Bad* manuals

Subject: *Bad* manuals
From: "Virginia J. Link" <LINKVI -at- MAIL -dot- STATE -dot- WI -dot- US>
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 1996 09:23:16 -0600

Bob Jones wrote:
Hi all,

I am in the middle of rewriting a numbing set of very bad manuals, and I
feel like the bad manuals are winning. I feel like I have mono whenever I
sit down to work on them. They have broken my spirit.

What do you do to when I project gets you down?

I'm in the middle of a similar project, and have a question and a suggestion
for you:

Q. Is there any way to not *rewrite* them but to put the info into a new set
of manuals, put some of the info online, and/or incorporate it into an
existing, *not so bad* (or even *good*) manual(s)?

The reason I ask this is because when the marching orders came to rewrite a
(really) "bad manual," my team member and I counter-proposed that we a)
incorporate as much as possible of the bad manual's processes into one of
our other manuals, and b) move a lot of the "missing in action" information
(info that *should* have been in the "bad manual" in the first place but
never even got close) to on-line documentation, and c) revise and re-issue
only what really couldn't be incorporated into a and b.

This way we control the end product(s) more than we would trying to overhaul
a really dead beast; we're challenged by learning something new (on-line
doc); and the revised, re-issued "bad manual" won't look a thing like the
original "bad manual" (probably have a different title(s) as well) and,
hopefully, won't have to overcome all the bad PR generated by the original.

1. Take breaks to clean out your file drawers, PC directories, etc.,
2. Look fondly at the good work you've done in the past (and present),
3. Ask for a big raise because bringing the dead to life ain't easy, and
4. Put up a "Rumplestiltskin at Work" sign outside your office.

Good luck!

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