Re: Team Reviews of Word 97 docs

Subject: Re: Team Reviews of Word 97 docs
From: "Richard J. Collins" <writejob -at- DNAI -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 15 May 1998 16:03:40 -0700

Hi Susan,
I have tried these features in two different work groups over the past two years. One
workgroup was in a new product development department in a billion dollar/year
semiconductor equipment maker and the other workgroup was in a rather small electronics
company. The people I tried to enlist were project engineers (hardware and software), most
with advanced degrees and in senior positions in their respective companies.

I encountered three problems.

1. Resistance to doing things in a new way (both companies). In general, harried engineers
will not take the time to learn applications that they don't view as critical to their
mission. Word doesn't fit that description. Furthermore, the marked up page can look
pretty formidable to decipher (but it gets easier with practice). This is not to say that
text redlined by hand does not get hard to decipher -- simply that this "workgroup
software" is new and harrassed engineers don't have the luxury of learning new methods.

2. Lack of understanding how Word functions in the first place (on the part of the
engineers). These types tend to treat Word like an electronic typewriter. Most have not
bothered to understand the basics of style sheets or the other features one needs to grasp
to use electronic markup.

3. Problems with Word version 7 and 8. This mainly involves the fact that the application
has to save so much extra information that as the file gets marked up it is easily
corrupted and grows to immense proportions. You really risk crashing in a way that trashes
your file and could make you strip out all the formatting and do it all over again.

My advise -- the pain is not worth the gain. Go slow. Microsoft is good at concepts, but
poor at implementation. Not only does the software have to improve markedly, but there has
to be some major cultural shifts in the engineering departments. The best bet for
something like this to get a foothold is in startups that are willing to experiment.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Technical Writers List; for all Technical Communication issues
> [mailto:TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU]On Behalf Of Suzanne Townsend
> Sent: Friday, May 15, 1998 5:18 AM
> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: Team Reviews of Word 97 docs
> I'm curious about the Word 97 functions for tracking docs: having
> reviewers insert comments, using revision marks, etc. Has anyone
> been using
> these features successfully for doc reviews?
> All best,
> Suzanne Townsend <ac158 -at- chebucto -dot- ns -dot- ca>
> &^&^&^~~~

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