Supervising Advice

Subject: Supervising Advice
From: "Olive, Eric" <EOlive -at- GLHEC -dot- ORG>
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 08:15:48 -0500

The postings in response to Michele's request for advice all contain sound
suggestions. Geoff Hart is absolutely right. Don't throw the writer at the
SME. The result will likely be misery for all three of you. Rowena Hart's
work plan suggestion is excellent given your short time frame. I would only
add that you might want to begin by outlining the basic documentation
process and then proceed with two or three short exercises.

1. Plan
2. Obtain information (interview the SME, review the existing application
3. Compose a first draft. This stage often includes follow-up questions for
the SME. Encourage your intern to keep a running issues list and then to
contact the SME once each day or two or three times each week.
4. Submit and revise as often as necessary.

Develop some simple documentation exercises: How to buy groceries, how to
drive a stick shift, how to tie your shoelaces. These exercises may sound
hokey but I have found them effective when training someone new to
documentation because the subject matter is familiar. This familiarity
reduces anxiety in new writers.

Good Luck,

Eric Olive
Compuware Corporation

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