RE: "Documentation 360"

Subject: RE: "Documentation 360"
From: Dan Goldstein <DGoldstein -at- nuot -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L (techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com)" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2015 17:35:44 +0000

It seems to me that project managers who care about the merits of documents account for a lot more than 1%. Just consider how many Whirlers have posted about internal disagreements over document content. Granted, even those managers expect to have the documents done "yesterday," but you can't say they don't care about document quality.

-----Original Message-----
From: Keith Hood
Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2015 12:24 PM
To: Cardimon, Craig
Subject: Re: "Documentation 360"

Everything he says is correct in theory. The problem is, 99% of the time, the people he writes for don't care about the writing or the writer.

For example, he says that good documentation is important in project management. That is true, but the project managers don't care where the documentation comes from or how it's produced. They will read it to get the information they want for their purposes, but they don't look at it *as a product*. They don't examine the documents and judge them on the quality of the writing. They don't spend any time considering the merits of the documents. All they care about is whether the docs are in their hands on time. Later, if some problem erupts because of flaws in the docs, there will be a ! -at- %storm and the writer will get in trouble, but as long as that doesn't happen the writer will be ignored and the project managers will not spend one second thinking about what the writer does.

The one area he mentioned where it's a bit different is training. In that, the tech writer's output will be viewed as a product, because training is the product. So the guy in charge will be personally involved in and concerned about what the writer does. In that case, the management will give the tech writer recognition as an important part of the group. The problem in training is, most companies only give it lip service. They wish training didn't have to be done at all because the time needed for it cuts into productivity. What they really want from training is that it is done *quickly*, and the trainees with their new knowledge are returned to doing what they company considers really important. There would be no corporate training programs at all if companies could use hynopaedia.

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