Manufacturing experience - pros & cons for IT technical writers

Subject: Manufacturing experience - pros & cons for IT technical writers
From: "Guy A. McDonald" <guym -at- INTEGRITYOL -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998 19:52:47 -0700

>Why would it benefit tech writers to have manufacturing environment
>experience? Because tech writers then learn about the product
>production processes and how the processes play a key role in the tech
>writer's understanding of the technology they're documenting.

Having written my fair share of SOPs & maintenance docs for pulp & paper,
oil & nuclear - how does the Software Development Life Cycle even compare to
the process control we (those of us who've worked in various industries
*other than* IT) are familiar?

I've seen a few papers that tried to compare the SDLC to ISO/TQM/QA
methodologies and technicques. IMHO - the comparisons were laughable at
best. So begging to differ in a round about way George... I think that
(other than some aspects of QA) the folk in IT would *not* benefit a whole
lot by having manufacturing experience.

Don't misunderstand me though - I am *not* saying that working within a
nation's industrial complex won't help the typical "computer weenie." It is
a good thing. But as one who is moving toward being able to write for both
sides of the fence -- my "dirty fingernail" writing legacy isn't as
attractive as it would be if it had instead been 15 years in the IT field.

>lot of engineers don't always place a high priority on documentation
>that a tech writer does.

Oh yes - the idiots. It's sad we have to put up with these morons isn't it?
These are also the ones who bitch and moan the loudest about how
documentation sucks right before final release. When you point out that they
were on the distribution list for review they say "I never saw anything."
Well of course they didn't see anything - it's because they are completely
incompetent and their boss is a loser for keeping them on the team.

Guy McDonald
Seattle, WA
guym -at- integrityol -dot- com

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