RE: Worries about tools (a bit long)

Subject: RE: Worries about tools (a bit long)
From: "Habegger, Nolan" <nolan -dot- habegger -at- synertechllc -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 1999 16:33:04 -0600

It IS frustrating to know that better tools exist. How we respond is the key
to enjoying your work. We can either "X out" a company because they use
inferior tools, or we can look at the situation as an opportunity to
demonstrate competence in our area of expertise and show the people who sign
our paychecks that documentation can make a significant, positive impact on
the mission and purpose of the corporation.

A lot of companies (IME) are afraid of migrating to FrameMaker or another
non-MS application because they know nothing about it. Their ignorance
creates a resistance to the product, and that translates into the
frustrating reticence we encounter. Word gives managers/executives a sense
of control over their documentation, because they know how to use it, they
can open and edit documents on their own (a bane to us in the industry, I
know), or at least know the potential exists for such a thing. The other
fear is that they will spend money purchasing an expensive, unknown product
and will be accused of frivolous waste by the people in Accounting.

The key to overcoming this is to demonstrate definitive and sound business
reasons for the migration. Telling management that Frame is a superior
product will not work unless you can demonstrate the superiority in the
context of the company's performance. Find out what the specific objections
are, and address them. Design a solution that will calm the quaking hearts
of the control freaks and will quicken the pulse of the bean counters. We
are, after all, recommending a capital expenditure that will impact the
company's bottom line. Show how a migration will increase productivity,
automate processes, reduce necessary server space or decrease paper usage.
Give accurate time and money savings, and don't forget that time saves
almost ALWAYS translates into money saved.

Consider this situation an opportunity to shine. Show the suits that you are
more than a glorified typist. Be prepared to take your proposal all the way
to the CEO. Do your homework and make your presentation sharp (written
communication, after all, is what we do!). Remember, it's how you respond
that determines your level of contentment. If the company still won't budge
after you've given your presentation, leave a Post-It(r) note with the word
"Loser" on their front door and move on. Trust me, you'll feel better.

Nolan Habegger
Technical Communications Coordinator
Synertech Management Group, LLC
Houston, TX

(Nolan Habegger is currently working on a plan to implement Adobe Acrobat in
a company that uses Word militantly. He's using the aforementioned methods
to present the idea to executive level management. Please send your surplus
Post-It(r) notes to: nolan -dot- habegger -at- synertechllc -dot- com -dot- )

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