Re: Dealing with engineers' input

Subject: Re: Dealing with engineers' input
From: Bonni Graham <bonnig -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 1995 21:56:50 -0800

You wrote:

>Comments on paper I can deal with; I'm talking about live interactions
>here. About the best I can come up with myself is to listen carefully,
>look them in the eye, and thank them for each suggestion. That may
>carry enough of the appropriate implications. I'd appreciate any other
>suggestions or war stories, though.

Comments on paper were always my downfall, because I couldn't always ask
for clarification right when I read the edit -- by the time I went to
see the person, her or she often could not remember why that edit was
there! I had one engineer (my primary SME on the topic) who would write
"more detail" next to blocks of text. I'd have to troop downstairs and
ask her for the "more detail" needed -- I'd already PUT everything I
knew in there. Finally I just started returning the edits with a
counter edit: "please provide". About the third time I did that, she
started providing the detail in the edit.

I'd say, though, that reaction depends on the commenter. If it's
someone who's going to scrutinize the next draft to see if the suggested
change is there, a simple "thank you" is only going to earn you extra
discussion later. If the edit REALLY stinks, I try to dig deeper as to
why the person wants it -- sometimes I've been able to get to the
helpful suggestion buried in an unhelpful edit. Of course, sometimes
there isn't one, either.

"I'll think about it" has always been my safe answer.

Bonni Graham
Owner, Manual Labour
bonnig -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com

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