Re: Getting the programmers to come to you

Subject: Re: Getting the programmers to come to you
From: "Wilcox, John (Contractor)" <wilcoxj -at- WDNI -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997 14:35:00 -0800

Gillian McGarvey wrote:
> Is anyone else on the list bewildered by the fact that so many of us
> suggest that we actually BRIBE programmers to do what should be part
> of their job and give us the info we need to document the software?
> Isn't it the job of management to instill a higher value of
> documentation into programmers/developers and construct processes
> that implement it? Aren't we just re-enforcing programmers'
> lackadaisical attitude when it comes to working WITH tech writers by
> coddling them with snacks?

I operate on the assumption that the product isn't going out without the
documentation, so if the documentation isn't done because an engineer
didn't review it, it ain't my head that's gonna get bopped. And if the
documentation goes out with errors, because the engineer didn't review
it, I still expect the blame to fall on the engineer. Fortunately, I
have always been able to establish enough of a rapport with the
engineers that it's never come down to either of these cases.

As for managers... I refuse to accept responsibility for Dilbert-style
management behavior, especially when it comes to being accountable for
their poor decisions. I just will not stoop so low as to allow them to
roll the blame onto me. CAVEAT: Don't try this at home, boys and
girls, unless you're willing to take the possible consequences. I find
they're a little sensitive when their stupdidity is exposed -- I have
lost more than one job this way. But then I was better off.


John Wilcox, Documentation Specialist
Timberlands Information Services
Tacoma, WA 98477-0001
wilcoxj -at- wdni -dot- com

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