[techwr-l] Re: Recap of the messasge about screwing up

Subject: [techwr-l] Re: Recap of the messasge about screwing up
From: Chuck <writer -at- best -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L, a list for all technical communication issues" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 15:26:09 -0700

shelly -dot- l -dot- hazard -at- exgate -dot- tek -dot- com wrote:
> Chuck said:
> <<But I've also been in far too many situation where I hear about a
> development meeting, go
> there to keep up with developments on the product, and get asked
> something along the lines of "What are you doing here? You're the
> technical writer.">>
> In this instance, you explain (politely) why it would be nice for the
> technical writer to be included in the meeting and request (again politely)
> that they include you in meeting announcements in the future. In my
> experience (I worked as an engineering assistant for a number of years),
> engineers are often not people-oriented. They avoid confrontations with
> people that are hard to deal with. Thus, if you make interaction with you
> difficult for them, they will simply work around you or at the least, not go
> out of their way to tell you something.

Been there, done that. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Heck, I'm not as people oriented as I'd like to be (but I try to learn).
One reason why I maintain that I'm not interested in getting on the
management track, but rather would stay in the techie trenches (the
other reason is because I love it down in those same trenches).

> If you have trouble finding out about meetings, find out who sets them and
> ask to be notified about them in the future (in my case here, it is the
> program manager or engineering manager). If you need constant input from
> engineering, make yourself available to them. Make it easy for them to ask
> you for a favor or just in general, to get information from you. Don't make
> it a chore. Appear at their office door and chat with them occasionally -
> remind them that there's a person behind that writing title.
I've done more than that. At one company I was offered an office away
from the programming group that I worked with. I said I'd rather have a
cubicle in the same area as the programmers (despite it being in an area
where there were no windows) so I could be close by, so I could make it
easier to work with each other. I think I was successful; I had a really
good relationship with most of the programmers at the company, as well
as management.

"Online help should ignore first-time users and concentrate
on those people who are already successful using the
product, but who want to expand their horizons."
- Alan Cooper
"About Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design"

Chuck Martin
writer"at"best.com www.writeforyou.com


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