TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Value of documentation From:Jay Mead <jlmead -at- OURAY -dot- CUDENVER -dot- EDU> Date:Mon, 28 Apr 1997 18:46:56 -0600
On Mon, 28 Apr 1997, David Castro wrote:
> Documentation may have helped our company land our biggest contract, ever.
> ... Our VP had to figure out how to show that our
> program wasn't just "vaporware," as our competition's is. Being the
> champion of documentation that he is, he instantly thought of showing them
> our hard copy and online help. He pointed out: you can't have complete
> documentation on vaporware!
A great story, and a classic illustration of the main idea in the book
"Crossing the Chasm," by Geoffrey Moore: It's *very* hard to persuade
mainstream customers of the validity of a new product/technology,
regardless how nifty the new product may be, without a lot of backup
evidence such as existing satisfied customers or, in your case, excellent
The value added by good docs in this case was direct and
measurable, and probably huge. Hope you got a raise.
Has anyone else seen how their docs added value by reinforcing the
validity or image or market acceptance of a product? Please tell us
jay -dot- mead -at- den -dot- galileo -dot- com