Regarding Projects, Bosses who don't understand, and jobs in Europe

Subject: Regarding Projects, Bosses who don't understand, and jobs in Europe
From: Susan Brown <sbrown -at- JSCSYS -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 1997 09:39:29 -0500

Hi, Hi!!

First and foremost, thanks to EVERYONE who respond to my cries of
despair. There were so many of you that I can' thank you all personnally,
so, I post an all inclusive and deeply appreciative "Thank you".

I couldn't think much about this Saturday (indexing workshop), but I
did on Sunday, and had a meeting with the project manager in question
yesterday afternoon.

I went in with a breakdown of the 'sections' in the help system, the
current status of each section, the work I needed to do, the work someone
else would need to, all broken down quite specifically with approximate time
estimates for each. Where I had insufficient information (a result of the
'off-limits' sign attached to the developers), I detailed exactly what
problems this had caused.

I then marked all of these tasks into one of three categories: must
absolutely be done before releasing a version of the help system, would be
nice to have done before releasing a version of the help system, and future
enhancements. I detailed exactly why items were assigned to what categories,
the effect the assignments would have, and timelines associated with various

It all went better than expected. You could see the wheels turning
in his head, the occasional flash of almost-insight in his eyes, and frowns
when the ramifications of past actions finally hit home.

I think a big help was my approach, gentle but incredibly firm,
coupled with a refusal to be sidetracked into irrelevancies (focusing on
petty details is often a refuge for people who don't understand a problem or

He was left with two choices: something tomorrow (what he wanted)
that is not remotely adequate or acceptable (and he could see why), or
something moderately reasonable while not complete, for the beginnning of
May (a time that is being determined solely by the absolute mecessity of
developer involvement). Both options require an updated and revised version
for June release. It is all in his hands now.

I was not willing to entertain a solo hump-busting marathon: I did
not offer it as an option, and by the time we got to discussing options, he
was not longer asking for it.

Again, my deep appreciation to the many people who took time to send
me long and detailed responses to my two posts on this.

And, yes, I am actively hunting again. (On that note, if anyone
knows of any organization in Europe, preferably in an Italian or French
speaking region, that needs/wants/could use an English language technical
writer, or of any place that I could look for such a job, I would really
appreciate hearing about it. My sister lives in Milan, and I would really
like to move to the other side of the ocean.)

Susan Brown
JSC Systems Corp.

"Begin at the beginning," the King said, very gravely, "and go on till you
come to the end: then stop."
- Lewis Carroll

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