RE: SMEs and me (long) + a question

Subject: RE: SMEs and me (long) + a question
From: John Posada <jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "Rock, Megan" <Megan -dot- Rock -at- fanucrobotics -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 06:55:10 -0700 (PDT)

> experts,
> it can be a challenge to identify who should review the manual. We
> usually
> leave it up to the primary SME we're working with to decide who
> else should
> review a copy of the manual before sign-off, but sometimes people
> get left
> out accidentally or find out very late in the process. We haven't
> figured
> out the best way to handle this. We'd have fewer last-minute
> changes if
> everybody who thought they should review the manual had a chance to
> look at
> it before we go to production. Does anybody have any suggestions??

No you wouldn't. The more eyeballs that see it, more changes, more
eyeballs need to see the changes, more changes, etc. EVERYONE thinks
they have something to worthwhile to contribute...most don't.

I let someone such as the Project Manager (PM) decide who sees the
drafts and all changes to the drafts go through the PM or a
designated rep. I get one set of changes from the PM. Besides the
coordination issue, sometimes someone wants unjustified or inaccurate
changes and the PM will filter them out. At some point, to meet a
commitment schedule, the PM should end accepting changes and it is
the PM's responsibility to know what should be disregarded.

As far as someone being left out...if they were, they weren't too
important to the process anyway, so while in a perfect world everyone
should have their input heard, it's not perfect and they'll get over
it. If they were important, than it is the PM's fault and let him/her
explain why their boss was missed.

A while ago, I took the stance that you cannot create the perfect
document and that it is best to get something with some flaws out
than to have the perfect document that never gets into a user's
hands. What comes with experience is knowing which flaws are OK and
which aren't.

John Posada
Technical Writer
mailto:john -at- tdandw -dot- com

Only in America... do they have drive-up ATM machines
with Braille lettering

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