Re: FWD: Personnel and Quality of Printed Manuals

Subject: Re: FWD: Personnel and Quality of Printed Manuals
From: "E. Forrest Christian" <eforest -at- MICRO-NET -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 1998 11:24:16 CST

Remeber, 90% of all quality control problems are management problems. About 2% are the fault of the worker. (If the numbers aren't accurate to Duran, then the relationship should be even more exaggerated.)

Some of the management problems in this story:

Anonymous failed to sell Secretary, who is vitally important and respected team-member, on the importance of documentation in the presentation of the company.

Anonymous failed to train Secretary in how to properly perform the new tasks. "Properly" means so that she does it well. The onus rests on Anonymous, not Secretary.

Anonymous has an antagonistic relationship with Secretary. If everyone else in the company thinks that she is gold, she must be doing something right, even if it is just the politics of power. I would wager that she is very good at what she does, an expert in her own right, who feels that running the dang-blasted photocopier is well beneath her level of skills and professionalism.

Anonymous has failed to sell the company on the value of quality documentation. They obviously feel, like most of our "customers", that docs are a necessary evil that subtract but do not add to profit. Anonymous's job is 50% writing and documentation, and 50% managing the customer (that is, the company).

We all make these mistakes. We are threatened experts, not valued by the world. Novelists and journalists may be (okay, so journalists don't get paid), but everyone thinks he can write documentation, too. Our skill at writing procedural material does not make us good salesmen, regardless of academia's rhetoric kick. We feel that everyone should just know, instinctively, how important documentation is, without our having to sell people on it. Our insecurity leads us to look down on other positions, such as secretaries, IMHO.

Many of us feel Anonymous's pain. And like her/him, we, too, must change our ways, turning from wars to negotiations and alliances.

E. Forrest Christian (773) 363.95.15
Freelance Technical Writer eforest -at- micro-net -dot- com

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