Managing Expectations

Subject: Managing Expectations
From: "Eric J. Ray" <ejray -at- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 1997 10:37:19 -0600

In light of Doreen's comments about customer expectations,
an ongoing offline exchange with a subscriber, and our current contract
gig, I'd like to toss out Managing Expectations as a broad
topic for discussion.

It seems that we're often so caught up in the minutae of the
day-to-day getting Winhelp files to compile and avoiding
Word crashes that we lose sight of some of the larger
concerns that effectively drive our jobs.

What role do you actively play in managing either customer
or management expectations for web sites, doc sets, help,
or whatever? Do you tell management that,
despite a million dollar investment in documentation,
many people won't read it and they'll still have to pay
customer support people to read the documentation on the
phone. Or, how do you explain to customers that, although
the new documentation, Web site, and product are pretty
darn good, nobody will really be 1000% more productive
than they were with the old stuff.

For example, a couple of years ago I worked on a documentation
and training project with user expectations as the primary
focus. The project (part of a larger one), designed and implemented
unilaterally by the IS group for use by the Customer Service personnel,
was technically not difficult to use, but required a complete
change in workflow for the CS people. The only payoff was a
hypothetically easier (but unfamilar) process in a couple of
years, after the bigger project was to be complete.
Toeing the line between brutal honesty, supporting our
department, and commiserating with the poor people who
had to deal with this was quite a technical communications

Any comments?

Eric J. Ray ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com
TECHWR-L Listowner

TECHWR-L (Technical Communication) List Information: To send a message
to 2500+ readers, e-mail to TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU -dot- Send commands
Search the archives at or search and
browse the archives at

Previous by Author: ADMIN: Offensive Words
Next by Author: Re: HTML keywords & search engines (LONG)
Previous by Thread: ISO 9000
Next by Thread: Re: Managing Expectations

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads

Sponsored Ads