Nobody reviewed the manuals

Subject: Nobody reviewed the manuals
From: "Al Geist" <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 10 Jun 2010 12:58:33 -0400

I'm sure everyone by now has heard about the big oil spill going on in the
Gulf or Mexico. Associate Press today announced that an analysis of BP's
contingency plans show they were "riddled with omissions and glaring
errors." It seems that the authors face what most of us in the field
confront on a daily basis..everyone wants the manuals done by some
impossible deadline, but nobody has anytime to review the material to see if
it is relevant, accurate, or complete. If those documents are like some I've
had to clean up, they are virtually useless because they were copied from
previous documents, which were copies of older documents, which were
copies... In management's eyes, this is good, economic use of resources. In
the department heads eyes, it's a checkbox that is filled without having to
take an engineer or programmer off some critical task. In the user's eyes,
it means fumbling around to figure things out before the system crashes and
management starts looking over your shoulder. Been fighting for better
manuals for nearly 40 years and I will guarantee that there are more BP-type
contingency plans out there. What management doesn't realize is that it cost
a lot more to clean up the mess than it would to produce is relevant,
accurate, and complete material in the first place. BP knows the
consequences many other companies (small or large) have had their
eyes opened?

Okay.I'm done. Now everyone get back to work...

Al Geist

Technical Communicator, Help, Web Design, Video, Photography

Office/Msg: 802-872-9190

Cell: 802-578-3964

E-mail: al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com


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