Re: Writing vs. Testing, one last thought.

Subject: Re: Writing vs. Testing, one last thought.
From: Rebecca Merck <Rebecca -dot- Merck -at- ONESOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 24 May 1999 11:04:55 -0400

Oh, one other bit I failed to say -- where we ARE pulled in to apply our
cognitive skills, to actually participate in testing design, that sort of
thing, as Kathy is experiencing, THAT'S GREAT!

I merely stand in opposition to cannibalizing the documentation staff to
find cheap labor, to the detriment of the actual documentation task.


-----Original Message-----
From: Rebecca Merck [mailto:Rebecca -dot- Merck -at- ONESOFT -dot- COM]
Sent: Monday, May 24, 1999 10:59 AM
Subject: Re: Writing vs. Testing

I agree that the focus of a tester and a technical writer has overlap, and
some skills in common. However, in my experience with this, what I've found
is that the writers are not asked to come in to design testing, to organize
testing, or to in any way apply their intuitive skills to testing -- they're
being asked, as Fred was, to come in and provide grunt labor to follow a
pre-determined script. And providing grunt labor in this fashion does NOT
take advantage of my skills, and my skills do not better prepare me for
following the script.

And when I have served as a tester in that capacity, not only was it
unbelievably dull, it put me off my own deadlines AND it did not,
ultimately, improve my familiarity with the application.

However, as a part of writing, I *was* able to identify issues NOT spotted
by the designed tests, and agree with EVERYONE who has said that tech
writers provide as a side-effect of their efforts, a valuable second type of
testing, much more akin to usability testing.

However, if I thought it were the best use of my time to run pre-designed
scripts, I continue to contend that I would have applied for a job in QA --
since my career goals are to develop documentation, the fact that this task
prevents me from performing the core of my own job, I think it's
contradictory to "borrow" tech writers for the purpose.


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