Re: Schedule, Cost, & Quality: Pick Two

Subject: Re: Schedule, Cost, & Quality: Pick Two
From: SteveFJong -at- aol -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com, melonie -dot- mcmichael -at- amd -dot- com
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 11:13:24 EST

Melonie McMichael <melonie -dot- mcmichael -at- amd -dot- com> wrote:

>> Doing it right the first time will still take an experienced, quality
writer
>> which equals cost. Also, it takes longer to do it right the first time
>> which also equals cost and time.
>> So, now we are back to "good, quick or cheap: pick any two."

I guess I would disagree with both your statements. Yes, doing it right the
first time can take an experienced, expensive writer; but it can also be done
by almost any writer with good support in place--good processes, good specs,
or a coherent development environment.

I'd also say that doing it right the first time is always the fastest way to
get to the right result. (Of course, if you do it wrong you may get results
faster, but they won't be right! That's only the cheapest route if you stop
at "wrong" 8^)

I learned a lot from a colleague at a large computer vendor, now extinct,
that made an office suite (WP, e-mail, spreadsheet) in the days of
character-cell terminals. We introduced an e-mail product with three
interfaces: command-line, menu-driven, and office suite. A coworker was
assigned to write the user's guide for the free-standing, menu-driven
version; my colleague was assigned to write the user's guide for the
office-suite, menu-driven version (which was very similar in scope). Our
coworker jumped on the project and buzzed along for three months, meeting
daily with the engineer to track every change to the code as it emerged,
putting in long hours, turning out weekly "snap drafts" of the most volatile
chapter. Meanwhile, my colleague sat back with the spec and wrote the
introduction, the appendixes... all the non-volatile parts. He also worked
9-5 like a metronome. The last week he wrote the chapter reflecting the most
volatile code; by then it had settled down.

The day the books were due, my coworker had one beautifully written and
totally accurate chapter; my colleague had the complete book, just as
beautifully written and accurate. Then he went home 8^)

(Guess who got paid more? Happily, the one who earned it.)

-- Steve

Steven Jong, Documentation Team Manager ("Typo? What tpyo?")
Lightbridge, Inc., 67 S. Bedford St., Burlington, MA 01803 USA
mailto:Jong -at- lightbridge -dot- com 781.359.4902[V], 781.359.4500[F]
Home Sweet Homepage: http://members.aol.com/SteveFJong




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