Order Amongst Chaos (venting)

Subject: Order Amongst Chaos (venting)
From: Kathryn Marshall <kmarshall -at- MODACAD -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 19 Jun 1998 17:36:58 -0700

Pardon me, folks, but I must vent:

I am slowly trying to change the documentation process at my company. I
used to be the Lone Writer. Now I have a staff of 2 -- soon to be 3
writers. Things are so busy that I am managing, as well as writing. I'm
trying to build a team and show the company how we "add value" (there's
that wonderful phrase we always hear). So we have doc standards, a style
guide, and we're starting to use the Hackos method of planning,
implementation, etc. I'm proud to say we've even begun developing a
strategic plan. Don't we seem on-the-ball? :-)

Maybe we would be if the rest of the company were too!!! I pushed and
pushed for the engineers and product managers to write general,
functional, and design specs -- even gave them a template. Do they?
Sometimes. Are they ever updated? Very rarely. Time and time again,
product managers go outside my department for writing resources
(argh!$# -at- !). This is what's really bugging me. And the fact that some of
them have forgotten we're supposed to be working on product TEAMS. If
you only knew how many times I have sent memos, had meetings, talked
(argued?) with people about this, you'd feel my pain. Case in point: I
was just asked to write a manual today for a project that's been in
development for the past 2 months. When do they need it? Oh, in less
than a month. So of course, I said SURE NO PROBLEM. When I asked the
Product Manager why he didn't come to me sooner, he said he thought our
department was too busy (i.e., loaded down with projects). Argh again!

Does this happen to anyone else? Do you feel like an organized person
swimming in a sea of chaos sometimes? I wonder if creating a Strategic
Plan will even help. I hope so -- I'm counting on it.

Thanks for lending an ear,

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