Re: Schedule, Cost, & Quality: Pick Two

Subject: Re: Schedule, Cost, & Quality: Pick Two
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 13:57:59 -0800 (PST)

Murrell, Thomas wrote in message:

> Perhaps 20 years ago, a Project Manager I was working for told me that there
> are three aspects of any project: Quality, Cost, Schedule. Then he said
> something I have always considered profound. He said, "You can have any two
> of these aspects on a project at a cost of the third aspect."
> It seems to me that
> producing quality documentation is the hardest thing to do these days.

Try running a corporation in an ever growing and ever competitive global
market. Tech writing is a breeze compared to what it takes to make an
organization successful and profitable.

Hence, this is why schedule and cost are overwhelmingly favored over quality.
Especially regarding less important issues. If it comes down to code (product)
quality or documentation quality - guess which one wins 99.99999% of the time?

Actually, you can have quality documentation quickly and cheaply. You're boss
was wrong about the "pick two" stuff. The problem is not that you can only
have two. To have all three you must have a writer who is exceptionally
skilled, experienced and intelligent. Good writers can bang out top quality
docs very quickly.

People wonder all the time why Hollywood keeps making stupid sitcoms about
neurotic inner city losers or movies with extreme violence - well this crap
sells and it is dirt cheap to produce. Let's face it, not every movie can have
the laughs of the Cohen brothers, the profundidty of Kubrick and the style of
Luc Besson.

Well, tech writing is the same thing. Documentation sucks because sucky
documentation sells and it is dirt cheap to produce. Why hire a $75.00 an hour
consultant who can pound out a masterpeice in a month when you can hire a FOC
kid for $15 an hour who can plink out the bare minimum in a 30 days. You don't
have to be the presdient of STC to figure out that equation.

When business people look at the matrix that goes into building a sucessful
company, tech writing is way low on the list.

Therefore, the issue is not how to beat more quality time out of your boss - it
is how to use the time you have to produce the highest quality possible. This
is a case where you must have the sweat and toil FIRST before you can have the
rewards. You want more time for quality - then find a way to make quality in
the time you have. This is the essence of capitalist systems and it has worked
extremely well for over 2000 years.

How's that for profundity.

Andrew Plato
"Luc Besson" in training


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