Appealing to or introducing Tech Comm "best practices"

Subject: Appealing to or introducing Tech Comm "best practices"
From: William Swallow <WSWALLOW -at- commsoft -dot- net>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 12:57:01 -0400

I'd say that no matter what the case, all writers on a team should sit down
and devote serious time to developing a style guide. Everyone's usually got
a few good ideas about documentation, but you have to focus your sessions to
the documentation you will be producing, not documentation in general.
General discussions can go on for years and can easily turn into heated
debates and leave a bad taste in everyone's mouths.

I work with a total of 13 writers (local and in other offices). We all have
excellent ideas, and of course we all would love the chance to have one of
our methodologies adopted into the mix of things. However, reality states
that this ain't gonna happen. For every 10 good ideas tossed out to the
group, maybe 1 will be adopted, and not without modification.

It's best to focus on what you have to get done and gear your practices and
style to that task. Oh, and try not to sweat the petty things. Spaces after
periods, capitalization and font emphasis issues can usually be resolved by
an elected editor. This editor should ask for input from the group on
paper/e-mail, compile the suggestions and go with what works, explaining why
to the group after the fact.

These days there's just too much work to be done to argue about who's right
or wrong. The whole point to "team" is working together. Sure, toes get
squashed once and a while, but if you foster a positive mental outlook and
focus your team on the one goal of getting the job done, no one should
really mind that much. After all, what goes around comes around (both the
good and the bad).

Bill Swallow
Technical Writer
Aptis Inc.
a subsidiary of Billing Concepts
phone: 518.433.7698
fax: 518.433.7680
<mailto:william -dot- swallow -at- aptissoftware -dot- com>
<http://www.aptissoftware.com>





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