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Subject:Re: Writing vs. Testing From:Mike Stockman <stockman -at- JAGUNET -dot- COM> Date:Fri, 21 May 1999 13:20:08 -0400
On 5/21/1999 12:54 PM, Fred Sampson (wfreds -at- CRUZIO -dot- COM) wrote:
>So, my question is: Can a technical writer (especially a newbie) reasonably
>expect to perform alpha-testing assignments? I understand the need to learn
>the new software by using it, which can include testing, but is this the
>major part of the tech writer's job?
If you're hired to do a job, the request to do a very different job (as
QA is from tech. writing) requires that you renegotiate (with the very
real risk that you cannot agree to do it). It is not reasonable to have a
different job thrust upon you that wasn't agreed to from the beginning.
When the renegotiation happens, either they capitulate, you both
compromise, or you walk. If you had chosen QA as a career path, you'd be
That said, I've always worked closely *with* QA on most projects I've
done. Tech. writers are probably the only people actually using pre-beta
software as it was intended, outside of the QA department. I report all
bugs that I encounter in the course of research and writing, and let the
QA department follow up on them.
This consumes some time, but it also gives me a better understanding of
the product and keeps the documentation accurate, as in "That's not a
bug, it's a feature, and it needs to be written that way."