Re: Writing vs. Testing

Subject: Re: Writing vs. Testing
From: Marj Mitchell <mmitchell -at- MSJCORP -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 13:32:22 -0700

FRED wrote:
At my first official technical writing job, I was to write online
help for
accounting software written in FoxPro 2.6. However, for four of my
weeks on the job, I was asked to alpha-test the latest module.

So, my question is: Can a technical writer (especially a newbie)
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
major part of the tech writer's job?
Fred Sampson
wfreds -at- cruzio -dot- com

It sounds like an over the top requirement. But it depends on your

Since the techs weren't up to speed, the question is how seriously was the
situation perceived by management?
The problem seems to come from their not understanding how involved building
help is. And, ultimately, they don't respect how important help is to the
success of the product. Until they learn that, they'll keep pulling us off
task, I'm afraid.

Also,I agree with the "teamwork" comments in a startup environment only. I
expect much better delineation of tasks from larger orgs.
If management needs to use you at your $$/hr vs. (presumably) the less
$$/hr techs, that's their call.
If I'm not going to be screwed down the line in my own work, I'm okay with
helping out (even with hateful stuff).

AND, as in my case, was your Project Lead UNDERSTANDING that you've been
pulled off task from help, and what the resulting impact down the line was
going to be to the schedule? I've been pulled off project for side projects,
testing, training others, you name it.... And my Lead is telling management
that help will only be skeletal AT BEST come December.

If they can live with the outcomes, I can live with the weird short-term


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