Re: JAD and the TW

Subject: Re: JAD and the TW
From: Beth Friedman <bjf -at- WAVEFRONT -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 12:01:05 -0600

In our previous episode, Matt Danda said:
> Lately I've learned of a new specialty for technical writing: Joint
> Application Development (JAD).
> Does anyone have any experience with this? My current employer seems
> to use it a lot for writing requirements and analyzing business
> processes, and they are hiring some high-dollar JAD facilitators who
> also consider themselves technical writers.

My last huge project involved a JAD process. I attended just about
all the sessions -- which I understand is a rarity for the TW, so I
was lucky. There were two facilitators, neither of whom considered
themselves technical writers, I think. They had a wide range of
skills, but mostly they served as the interface between the
programmers (who were developing the program and showing current
versions to the users) and the users (who knew how the old system
worked and what enhancements they wanted, but had trouble visualizing
anything new, especially since there was no demo of the new system).

The facilitators had to do a lot of scheduling, a lot of buffering
between management and users, and had to have a very good
understanding of the system they were using. (This was a database
written using SYNON 2E, which runs on AS/400s and I understand is
fairly obscure.)

> I am wondering if this is a field worth investigating? I have thus far
> been focusing my career on documentation in software development,
> because of the superior job security and compensation, and now I'm
> curious if becoming a TW/JAD Facilitator would offer
> better/worse/similar rewards.

I think it's very much a different skill set, with some overlap. If
you have the requisite skills, it might be worth looking into.

Caveat: I spent a year and a half on this project, but this is the
only JAD experience I have.

Beth Friedman bjf -at- wavefront -dot- com
"The pantry seems entirely full of Woodvilles
And Clarence has drunk two-thirds of the cellar
I wonder where my brother Richard is." -- John M. Ford

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